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Apple has taken top honors in a consumer-satisfaction survey conducted by Vocal Laboratories. The research firm spoke with 1147 consumers immediately following a support call, with 58 percent of respondents "very satisfied" after calls placed to Apple. Of individuals speaking with Dell representatives, only 46 percent gave the same response. Approximately 43 percent of HP callers were very satisfied.
Palm on Thursday disclosed its fourth-quarter and fiscal-year 2009 results, indicating a $753 million net loss for the year. Smartphone sales continued to slide, with shipments down 62-percent for the quarter and 25-percent for the year. The Palm Pre was not included in the numbers, as the launch will instead serve as a starting point for the company's first quarter of FY10.
Maker of medium format cameras, digital backs and lenses, Phase One, along with Leaf Photography, which manufactures medium-format digital camera backs, on Thursday announced they have collaborated to create a new company called Leaf Imaging that has purchased assets of the Leaf camera business. This includes the Leaf product name, engineering design and production tools.
Wireless provider Sprint is reportedly currently testing the HTC Hero before its release at the end of the year, as well as a portable WiMAX device from Samsung which could be the touchscreen Mondi. According to a Thursday PhoneNews leak, the WiMAX device will ship with the Android operating system, just like the HTC Hero, instead of a Windows Mobile OS, like reported earlier.
MvixUSA on Thursday announced the upcoming release and specs of its 1080p-capable Ultio networked multimedia player. The device is compatible with UPnP-standard networks and can be ordered with a 1TB hard drive. Streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other similar sites is supported, and MvixUSA says the device supports a record amount of video file formats and codecs, including the relatively uncommon RMVB or FLAC.
Philips in Singapore on Thursday announced its expanded home theater lineup for 2009, with the HTS8160B Soundbar new among them. The compact home theater setup includes a Blu-ray disc player, which has DVD and CD playback support as well, and built-in speakers, along with a separate subwoofer. While specific numbers such as power ratings are unknown, the system has what Philips calls Ambisound HD speakers and support for Dolby True HD audio format and 7.1-channel surround sound. The high-end product also sports an iPod/iPhone dock as well as a touchscreen remote control.
First unveiled back in March, the Touch Book from Always Innovating is due to ship sometime in July. The device uses an 8.9-inch touchscreen with 1024x600 resolution and can be used as a tablet PC, or like a more conventional netbook-like PC with the addition of the optional snap-in keyboard.
LG Electronics on Thursday announced the release of two ultra-slim full LED-backlit LCD HDTVs in Seoul. Both the 55LH95 and 55LH93 sport 55-inch screens and are positioned as high-end offerings in LG's lineup. LG touts the TVs have 3,360 LEDs, which is seven times more than existing edge-lit LED TVs. LG's technology also divides the screen into 240 blocks, which helps them to achieve a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
Sony spokesman Al De Leon today teased that Sony is considering downloads of non-game software for the PSP. In an early demo of the upcoming PSP Go, De Leon told Crave that most of the downloads from the soon to be expanded PlayStation Network store will be games but that there's a chance "non-gaming applications" will be available. What these would entail isn't mentioned, but Sony already incorporates utilities such as Skype in PSP firmware.
Mobile YouTube uploads have shot up dramatically with the release of the iPhone 3G S, Google claims. Whereas uploads have grown approximately 1,700 percent in past the six months, Google notes that figures rose 400 percent daily on June 19th, when the 3G S was launched in eight countries. The 3G S is the only iPhone capable of video recording, and is able to upload directly to YouTube. Apple and Google maintain a close corporate partnership.
A Wednesday report has Canon announcing a new product on Tuesday, June 30th, and the source believes this will involve the release of the T1 digital SLR camera, which also goes by the name of EOS-2000D. Just as the T1i replaces the XSi entry-to-mid-range model, the new shooter is expected by an anonymous tipster of Canon Rumors to replace the existing Rebel XS at the very start of Canon's DSLR lineup.
Analysts at Gartner today warned that the computer industry is on track to ship 6 percent fewer systems this year than it did in 2008. The new forecast has all companies shipping about 274 million computers versus 292 million and is blamed on both the poor world economy and the move away from desktops, which may plunge by 15.7 percent to make up 125 million of all computers sold. Gartner notes the decline is softer than feared as recently as mid-May but doesn't expect a true reversal until fall and a full recovery in 2010.
Wireless provider AT&T remains on track for a national 3G femtocell launch before the end of 2009, according to a senior company executive speaking at a conference in London earlier this week. While a more defined date is not known, AT&T's launch will be the first UMTS-based 3G femto service in the US. The service is already being tested by some 200 users thanks to trials of 3G MicroCell home stations.
OmniVision on Thursday added new camera sensors that could have significance for future smartphones, including the iPhone. The OV5650 can handle 5-megapixel still shooting but is more impressive in video capture, the company says: it can record full 1080p video at 30 frames per second or scale back to 720p in exchange for 60 frames per second. It's also backlit and is roughly 40 percent better in low light than a front-lit system while simultaneously producing a twice as clean signal-to-noise ratio.
After days of silence on its presence, AT&T today formally launched its Mobile Remote Access app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The free software gives subscribers to the carrier's U-verse IPTV service control over their DVR units, including queuing up future recordings based on the TV schedule as well as deleting shows that are already stored on the set-top box. It can filter to only show favorites or HD content and can find shows based on metadata like an actor's name.
NVIDIA confirmed its plans to release its own netbook PC with its own Tegra chip before the end of 2009. The Tegra chip is so far only used in the Zune HD portable multimedia player and uses hardware acceleration of 720p resolution HD video while using up a minimum of just 150mW. While final specs are not known, NVIDIA is showing a prototype model built by Mobinnova which sports an 8.9-inch screen, Wi-Fi, a 3G data radio and a webcam. It currently runs on Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, but NVIDIA says the final product could run on Google's Android.
Computer builder HP has launched several new groupings of desktop PCs, which it says are timed to coincide with the beginning of the school shopping season. Updated options include the Pavilion Slimline s5000 series, which starts at $290 and consists of low-end hardware designed to fit in a half-sized tower case. The Pavilion p6000 systems are similarly low-end, but start at $270 as a result of using regular-sized components.
New data published by AdMob today showed that Apple's share of mobile web use has suddenly surged and now makes up more than two thirds of all mobile traffic in the US. In May, iPhone requests represented 69 percent of all traffic, a sudden jump from 59 percent the month before. By comparison, BlackBerries accounted for just 13 percent of traffic and Android phones represented 7 percent.
Sonic Solutions, the company behind Roxio, on Thursday announced its streaming movie service CinemaNow will be made available for the Nintendo Wii. Sonic will partner with Fujisoft to bring the former's content to the game console via the latter's video-on-demand Everyone's Theater Wii service. While the announcement only covers Japan, its successful integration potentially leads to the service arriving in other countries as well. CinemaNow offers more than 1,500 streaming movies, short films, and concerts to buy or rent.
Research in Motion is potentially in trouble as discounts it has been counting on for its smartphones are about to end, according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Citing checks, he claims Verizon's popular buy one, get one (BOGO) promo for the BlackBerry Curve 8330 should end on Saturday the 27th and that it will effectively boost the price of a BlackBerry Storm as a result. Although less expensive than the original $199 launch price, the Storm will move to a fixed $149 price but won't qualify for a BOGO discount that took it down to $99, effectively giving buyers a free extra phone for the Storm's regular price.
Microsoft this morning outlined its final pricing for Windows 7. Extending an olive branch to Windows XP owners refusing to upgrade to Vista, the company says it's allowing both these and Vista owners to pay $120 to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, $200 to move to Windows 7 Professional, and $220 for Windows 7 Ultimate. Full, non-OEM copies will cost $200, $300 and $320 respectively.
Sony Ericsson complemented the T715 with the addition of a new Bluetooth headset useful for most phones. The VH310 is built for longevity with about 11 hours of continuous talk or 500 hours of standby. Comfort is also a concern as it ships with three different ear tip sizes and two different ear hooks to accommodate most wearers; at 10 grams it also shouldn't weigh too heavily when in place.
Verizon today undercut the QWERTY smartphone field by launching the low-price HTC Ozone. The adapttion of the HTC Snap already at Sprint brings a different look but more importantly adds world roaming; while at home it uses CDMA and EVDO Rev A for calls and 3G, it has quad-band GSM and EDGE support for calls and 2G data in most parts of the world. Verizon-specific software also gives the phone Visual Voice Mail and support for VZ Navigator.
Gateway has quickly followed up on its desktop news with the addition of a relatively high-style but more frugal notebook line intended for the back-to-school audience. The NV series has a minimalist, glossy design with a relatively sturdy barrel hinge and touch-sensitive shortcut keys. At the same time, the notebooks keep costs down with a 15.6-inch, 1366x768 (but LED-backlit) display and lower-end AMD or Intel mobile chips.
Sony Ericsson in a quiet launch has revealed the T715. The slider is aimed at the upper mid-range with 3G over HSPA, a 3.2-megapixel camera and a partly aluminum shell. Although it doesn't have fully independent GPS, the phone ships preloaded with Google Maps for basic navigation and will geotag photos. AccuWeather and YouTube apps are also onboard.
Telus could leap on the iPhone almost as soon as it has a network ready to support the device, a rumor floated today suggests. A historically reliable source of leaks on Howard Forums claims a Telus executive has said the carrier will pick up rights for the iPhone almost immediately after its HSPA-based network goes live in October and could support the handset. As Telus doesn't have a GSM network, the iPhone would have to use the new 3G service for both calling and data.
Gateway on Wednesday evening introduced smaller, more powerful back-to-school desktop PCs, including its small form factor SX Series and its compact DX Series mini-tower line as well as its FHD Series of monitors featuring a new edge-to-edge glass design. Both the SX Series and DX Series PCs include a unique "digital photo frame" button that quickly delivers a slide show of favorite photos along with a "device deck" described as a small recessed area on top of the chassis to put device -- such as a digital camera, MP3 player or camcorder -- for connecting to USB ports and downloading media. Other new features include a tilt-enabled card multi-card media reader for easy access, a rear cable management hook to organize cables.
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