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Opera on Wednesdsay launched the first beta version of its Opera 10 web browser, offering enhanced speed and performance, along with a newly designed user interface. Changes in the beta include improved browsing speeds over limited-bandwidth connections, a resizable tab bar, and customizable features for the speed dial that allow users to choose from 4-25 web sites for quick access, and to add a custom background. Other speed enhancements noted by the company include a faster engine by up to 40 percent and increased support for resource intensive pages such as Gmail and Facebook.
TechCrunch has refined the design of its CrunchPad concept tablet, with a launch prototype that adds an aluminum housing and a flush display. The device has developed an appearance that resembles a large iPod touch, with slightly rounded corners and a glossy black bezel surrounding the touchscreen. Stepping away from a plastic case allowed the thickness to be trimmed down to 18mm, while also increasing rigidity.
iRex has announced new developments in its color display technology that will likely be used in upcoming e-book readers. Current electrophoretic displays found in readers utilize additive color mixing and filters that can potentially deteriorate the reading quality. The iRex technology, however, uses subtractive color mixing that follows a similar process to physical printing and is claimed to offer three times the brightness of other color displays.
At a press conference at Computex in Taiwan on Wednesday, PC maker Acer announced it will soon offer the Moblin Linux operating system in its products. This will include Aspire One nettop PCs and regular notebook and desktop PCs. Several Moblin-powered Aspire One netbooks are currently being shown at Computex, along with netbooks from other manufacturers, albeit there was more than one version of Moblin. The Linux-based operating system was developed by Intel to get the most out of the Atom CPU used in ultra-portable netbook PCs.
LaCie announced on Wednesday it has released two new products meant to enhance a user's home multimedia experience. The LaCinema Black PLAY and RECORD are wireless HD media players connect to a user's home network via their built-in Ethernet ports or Wi-Fi connections. Available in 500MB or 1TB capacities, the drives sport an integrated UPnP client for easy access to media stored on networked PCs or Macs.
A leaked photo reveals a new handset that is said to be the eventual successor to the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 smartphone. The spied device apparently goes by the codename Vulcan, though little other information is known about it. While the low-resolution image does not reveal much, similarities between the new device and the old one are clearly visible.
The recent iTunes 8.2 update allegedly includes code strings that point to several iPhone features, including Nike+ Sport Kit and FM radio support, that may arrive with next-generation devices, according to AppleInsider. The radio capabilities would allow users to tag songs to be purchased from iTunes. The Nike+ support is also new to the iPhone, although the receiver has already been built into the second-generation iPod touch.
At the Computex show currently taking place in Taiwan, MSI has shown off its WindBOX nettop PC powered by NVIDIA's Ion chipset. The computer's presence at the show indicates MSI is the latest to jump on the NVIDIA Ion bandwagon, with Acer and Lenovo confirmed to be releasing Ion-based PCs, with ASUS, Foxconn, Pegatron and, most recently, Dell and HP, rumored to be releasing their own as well.
Sony Ericsson today said it has brought the W995a Walkman phone to Americans as an unlocked device. The slider is Sony Ericsson's most advanced non-touch media phone and has 3G, an 8.1-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi to complement its signature music jukebox app. In US form, it comes with both native AT&T 3G as well as Sony's just-launched Media Go software for loading tracks.
Taiwanese hardware maker BenQ on Tuesday announced the upcoming release of its latest ultra-portable netbook PC, the 2.9lb, 11.6-inch Joybook Lite U121 Eco. Sporting a screen resolution of 1366x768 and a 16:9 aspect ratio, combined with the availability of large-capacity storage drives and an HDMI output, the Joybook Lite U121 Eco is intended as a minor media hub. Processing power comes from a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 that, with the optional six-cell battery, gives it a life expectancy of eight hours. A three-cell battery is the default choice.
Timing its launch for Computex, Synaptics has unveiled a new notebook trackpad design to close the gap between MacBooks and Windows PCs. Similar to Apple's design, the ClickPad removes discrete mouse buttons in favor of a larger unbroken surface. Users press down to click the button and get more space for multi-touch gestures, which are now a staple of the design. Pinching, scrolling and zooming are all possible with two fingers, while three fingers can either swipe or else produce an alternate click.
RIM's BlackBerry Tour is now known to be headed to Canada and has had its specifications confirmed through a late leak. Now due for Bell, a brochure for the smartphone obtained by BGR has both CDMA and EVDO for the carrier's own network but also quad-band GSM and EDGE for basic use in the US; in a conscious decision to limit 3G roaming in the US, though, it would have just 2,100MHz HSPA and so would only support 3G on European networks like Vodafone's.
Sony Ericsson at mid-day said it would jump into the mobile app store field by bringing apps to its PlayNow service. Similar to the iPhone's App Store and other services, developers will have to submit apps to Sony Ericsson but can optionally put their apps in a central portal across all 13 countries PlayNow serves. Developers won't be locked into a single operating system, however, and the company plans to offer both Symbian apps for its upcoming phones and Java ME for more limited phones.
SanDisk has begun shipping its next-generation SSD drives geared for netbooks, the pSSD P2 and S2. Both series of components feature new non-volatile nCache technology which is claimed to enable a five-fold increase in random write performance compared to HDDs, an important advancement for netbooks that use full-featured operating systems such as XP or Ubuntu. The technology is designed to reduce instances of stalling or "shuddering" experienced with earlier-generation SSDs.
Kingston at the Computex show in Taiwan on Wednesday announced it has released the SSDNow V Series solid-state drive (SSD) upgrade bundles for desktop and notebook PCs, allowing users to swap out their hard disk drives or small-capacity SSD drives without losing any of their data. The bundles include the SSD itself, cloning software from Acronis, step-by-step instruction, a SATA data and power cable extenders and 3.5-inch mounting brackets and hardware in desktop bundles or a 2.5-inch USB external enclosure in the notebook bundle. The enclosure allows users to turn the hard drives they have just removed into external backups or else further storage.
Having presented the technology during the Immarsat Aeronautical Conference, one company claims it can significantly boost the speeds of in-flight Internet. Wi-SKY is promising download rates as fast as 45Mbps, potentially dozens of times quicker than the access offered by airlines like Virgin America. Taking to the air, Wi-SKY is last Tuesday said to have demonstrated seamless streaming for functions like Skype video calls.
Acer has been showing two of its Tempo-series handsets, codenamed F1 and L1, first shown at CES in January, at the Computex show in Taiwan. The display model for the F1 revealed some of the smartphone's specs, including a particularly quick 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional for its operating system. It also centers on a large 3.8-inch, 800x480 touchscreen.
Apple and Google are both considering improved methods of sharing cellphone apps between users, reports say. Although it is not uncommon for developers to allow recommendations, there is presently no easy way for an iPhone or Android device user to send an app directly. Hooks for the technology are said to exist in the iPhone 3.0 firmware however, even if they are currently unimplemented. Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock has refused to comment on any details, insisting only that there are "no announcements at this time."
Oracle chief Larry Ellison late Tuesday said (registration required) his company may jump into the netbook field in the aftermath of its buyout of Sun. While referenced casually at the JavaOne conference, the expansion into computers is considered a logical offshoot by Ellison given Sun's experience in hardware and other fields outside of Oracle's preferred database apps.
Nokia's lead in appeal to a younger audience is quickly giving way to newer companies, a study by online community Habbo has revealed today. A study of more than 112,000 teens in 30 countries has seen just 21 percent declare Nokia as their favorite phone brand. The tally is enough to give it the lead but is a major drop from 29 percent a year ago. Sony Ericsson, normally sixth place in actual market share, garnered second place but itself dropped from 21 percent to 18 percent.
Wireless provider AT&T has quietly lowered its subsidized pricing of two BlackBerry handsets, the Curve 8900 and Bold. Despite being released just at the end of May by the provider, the price drop of the 8900 to $150 puts it on par with pricing at rival T-Mobile. It was reduced by $50 thanks to a larger mail-in rebate in the form of an AT&T promotion card.
The Justice Department is investigating the hiring strategies of some of America's largest high-tech corporations, according to the Washington Post. Companies involved in the probe include the likes of Apple, Google, Yahoo and Genentech, which are accused of making agreements to avoid recruiting from each other, thereby cementing their powerbase. Should allegations prove to be well-founded, the companies could be considered in violation of antitrust laws meant to ensure fair competition.
Computer and accessory maker ASUS on Tuesday announced it has added an O!Play Series digital media player line and its debut product, the O!Play HDP-R1 HD media player. The device is meant to bring both HD and SD video, as well as audio, into users' living rooms via a wired connection. It supports a relatively wide range of codecs, including MPEG1/2/4, H.264, VC-1 and RM/RMVB. Virtually all video formats are supported as well. The device itself connects through HDMI and RCA for video and brings optical output for sound.
Rogers is poised to more than triple the amount of data it can offer in a plan within two weeks, a leak says. Referred to as the Data Plan for Heavy Users, it would allot 15GB per month for $150, or three times as much as the current 5GB plan at less than twice the extra price. It would be usable with any smartphone, including the iPhone, as well as computer modems. Handsets will also have the option of tethering under the plan.
Microsoft at Computex has said it wants PC builders to avoid using the term "netbook" in the future. Application Platform and Development marketing general manager Steven Guggenheimer told the press that Microsoft now plans to call them "low cost small notebook PCs" as the original emphasis on web-first use has become outdated. Many of these devices are capable of extra features and are no longer just for the web, the executive insists.
Wireless provider AT&T on Tuesday announced its CruiseCast mobile satellite TV service has now launched in the US. Introduced in January at CES, the service offers 42 video and radio channels on existing rear-seat entertainment systems, including the NFL Network, Disney, Cartoon Network Mobile and Discovery channels. CruiseCast streams the mix of adult and children's TV programming into the car, via an antenna that mounts to roof racks or thanks to a magnet on a bare roof.
A listing for the Zune HD has appeared on Amazon today that hints at broader support for software on Microsoft's media player. Its description indicates that owners can "play games and use apps" using the accelerometer, suggesting both the expected third-party games as well as possible third-party apps; notably, Zune HD images to date have shown a "more" option that suggests additional features. The possibility remains that Microsoft is referring to built-in utilities like the photo viewer and web browser, both of which use the accelerometer for rotation.
AMD this morning said it has demonstrated the world's first graphics processor capable of supporting DirectX 11 and matching features in other software standards. The part is capable of tessellating polygons in real time, or breaking them down automatically into smaller shapes. Games and other apps that use the feature can have smoother details to characters or terrain without requiring as much processing power or that artists add all the information themselves.
A federal judge in Texas has awarded TiVo approximately $190 million in damages in the continuing legal battle with DISH Network and EchoStar, according to Reuters. The conflict involves infringement of patents for technology used in the company's DVR set-top boxes. The judge previously ordered an injunction to prevent the accused companies from using the patented technology in their devices, although TiVo claims the products continue to replicate its Time Warp features.
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