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Microsoft tonight launched the public version of Silverlight 3, its animation and video plugin for the web. The rival to Flash is the company's first to use hardware graphics acceleration both for 3D and for offloading the work of decoding video from the main processor. Regardless of graphics power, the update is also the first to promise a near-seamless HD video experience: a "smooth streaming" technique that automatically lowers the bitrate to start playback immediately and quickly brings it back up to provide the maximum quality the connection allows.
Newmium has announced yet another internet browser, the Newmium iXBrowser. The browser boasts compatibility with all versions of HTML 4 defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. Offering platform-independent compatibility with all versions of HTML 4 allows website developers to create more consistent cross-platform designs. The Newmium iXBrowser offers compatibility with various operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, WinCE, and FreeBSD in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Newmium claims that the browser not only maintains the same interface throughout each system, but will also display sites the same regardless of operating system.
Over one-third of mobile phones are expected to integrate accelerometers by 2010, according to the research firm iSuppli. Widespread adoption of the Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors is being driven by popular devices such as Apple's iPhone and the recently-launched Palm Pre. Although the trend continues to develop in the smartphone segment, the technology is also being used in simpler devices.
Corroborating earlier reports, an online retailer has already slipped pricing information for the Windows 7 Family Pack and Anytime Upgrade options, according to ZDNet. Although the existence of a Family Pack has been debated, Expercom listed the package with a product code, GFC-00236, and a price of $137. The pack includes three licenses for Windows 7 Home Premium.
Amazon's price cut of its Kindle 2 e-book reader have prompted some in the publishing industry to worry that the online retailer, which is far and away the leading provider of e-books, may put pressure on them to drop the prices for electronic versions of their books for the device, according to a Bloomberg report. Amazon reportedly pays between $12 and $13 to publishers for Kindle editions of books that are on the New York Times bestseller list and sells them for about $10 to customers. Many publishing houses are concerned the giant online vendor will put price pressure on them in order to bump its own profit margins.
Japan's Sanyo recently announced it would bring a DVR device to market that relies on slot-in hard drives that comply with the iVR (Information Versatile Disk) standard shared with Hitachi. The Repoch will include an integrated tuner for receiving digital terrestrial TV broadcasts to enable viewing recordings on analog broadcast-compatible TVs. This will allow users to keep their outdated analog TVs even though these broadcasts have been discontinued.
Getac on Thursday introduced the smallest and lightest addition to its lineup of rugged notebook PCs with the 13.3-inch 9213. It sports a magnesium alloy case and chassis, while the LCD display and hard drive are shock-mounted to prevent damage in the case of a drop or bump. Taking the resistance idea further is a spill-resistant keyboard, touchpad and remaining surfaces. The tough exterior houses an ultra-low voltage 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 3GB.
US-based Liquid Image is now selling its latest product, the UDCM310 underwater diving mask with a built-in photo and video camera, in Japan via retailer Hanwha. The device sports an integrated 5-megapixel camera module that can capture can capture both video and still images at 720x480 up to 33 feet deep. Power and shutter buttons are integrated into the frame of the camera, which turns off automatically if not recording after two minutes to conserve battery life.
A semiconductor and IT hardware report, produced by Kaufman Bros., is said to indicate that major companies -- including Apple and HP -- will continue solid sales into July despite lower sales than anticipated, following the second quarter ending with growth of 5 to 10 percent quarter-over-quarter. The research group also suggests that notebook and PC sales will maintain strength despite declining stock prices, and continued concerns over unemployment and the economy. Semiconductor companies such as Skyworks, Cypress and Atmel are expected to ride out momentum built on smartphone sales throughout July.
Sony Japan has recently announced its VAIO P netbook will get a WiMAX option by month's end. Pre-orders will begin on July 27th, with the netbook shipping just three days later, on July 30th. The option will add the equivalent of $108 to the price of the VAIO P plus a monthly subscription fee for the service itself. The WiMAX module will allow users to access the Internet away from Wi-Fi at broadband speeds of about 12Mbps. The system in the US and Japan normally has built-in 3G.
ASUS UK has confirmed final specs of the Eee PC T101H netbook tablet, first introduced at this year's CES show, according to a recent ASUSTablet report. The T101H is a larger version of the recently released T91, with a 10.1-inch screen instead of an 8.9-inch display and a corresponding increase in keyboard size as well. That screen will be LED-backlit and support multi-touch inputs, with ASUS promising it will be compatible with native touch support found in Windows 7.
Microsoft's Monday event should mark a more formal debut for the company's Office Web suite, tipsters said on Thursday. Although announced nine months ago, the suite is now said by Neowin to be getting a demonstration. It's not known if Microsoft will commit to a public release at the gathering.
A Thursday MobileCrunch report has confirmed that smartphone maker HTC will switch from its proprietary ExtUSB format to the near industry-standard 3.5mm audio jack. The new jack will be included on handsets including and released after the Android-powered Hero, though some devices that have already been announced and due for a release after the Hero will retain the old, proprietary format.
Palm Pre owners are ironically complaining that their smartphones don't have onscreen keyboards, a study by Strategy Analytics found today. Despite Palm having added the QWERTY keyboard in response to gripes about touch-only devices like the iPhone, many users want a software keyboard like Apple's, as Palm's design gives them no choice but to use the hardware solution. The opinion holds even for those who chose the Pre for the physical input, senior analyst Paul Brown says.
UK wireless provider Orange on Thursday officially confirmed at an expected event that it will be the exclusive provider of the Toshiba TG01 touchscreen smartphone. The 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered device will ship to stores on Friday.
Sprint has signed a deal to hand over daily network operations to Swedish firm Ericsson, according to an announcement. Set to last at least seven years, the agreement will see Ericsson manage services, provisioning and maintenance for CDMA, iDEN and wired connections. Although Sprint is expected to maintain full ownership and control of its network, and operate all aspects seen by customers, some 6,000 Sprint workers will find themselves under Ericsson's aegis in the third quarter of 2009.
Dell this morning kicked off its first-ever offerings of fast-ship PCs. Offered under the FastTrack banner, the systems can't be customized but ship by the next business day, eliminating the delay of two weeks or more that often accompanies ordering a system from Dell. The approach is based on the popularity of Dell's custom-order configurations and should be continuously refreshed to mirror what customers actually want.
A roadmap of Nikon's plans for 2009 and 2010 has reportedly surfaced through a Czech forum and appears to provide detailed information for all of the company's DSLRs this year. New to the mix is a D700x; the full-frame pro camera would reportedly get the 24.5-megapixel sensor from the D3x but also HD video shooting at 24FPS as well as improvements to autofocusing, self-timed shots and the mirror-up mode. If true, the camera would be launched on October 15th with a host of new lenses, including an all-purpose 24-135mm f3.5-5.6 lens and a 70-200mm f2.8G example.
The economic crunch is making a major impact on the viability of solid-state drives in notebooks, according to new research from iSuppli. As prices for the NAND flash memory that form the heart of these drives have in some cases more than doubled -- 128 percent for a 2GB chip -- the costs for the SSDs themselves have gone up proportionately, making it difficult or occasionally impossible to offer an SSD option in a given notebook. The jump is the result of a known shortage triggered by the economy, as companies producing memory deliberately cut production to raise prices and save money.
Electronics retail chain Best Buy and digital video recorder maker TiVo on Thursday announced a partnership that will see Best Buy carry a specially developed TiVo set-top box that will let Best Buy advertise its products and services to TiVo subscribers, among other benefits. What TiVo execs are calling the biggest marketing move in the DVR company's history, will see Best Buy committing to a multi-year deal to advertise, promote and carry the TiVo devices, though no financial details have been released.
VIZIO this morning earned a reprieve from US Customs that cleared its current TV line of possible patent infringements that might have blocked their sale in the US. The government agency made the ruling four months after the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected a patent from Japanese company Funai, which had hoped to use the patent to block US-based VIZIO's sets from reaching stores. Funai is expected to appeal, though VIZIO equally expects to win.
LaCie on Wednesday announced the release of its LaCinema Rugged HD multimedia drive. An upgrade of the original, it can now play 1080p video through any TV with an HDMI port. The drive's 500GB capacity lets users store a large amount of both HD content as well as music and photos. Content is transferred onto the drive via a USB 2.0 connection from Windows and Mac OS X computers, with supported movie codecs that include H.264, MKV, MPEG-4 and WMV9.
(Update with more info) Rogers today became the first cable provider in Canada to offer a full-spec DOCSIS 3.0 Internet service and rolled out a special new cable modem to match. The 50Mbps tier more than doubles the fastest service Rogers has had before and matches both the maximum speed of Comcast's service in the US as well as the pre-3.0 service offered by Videotron in Quebec. The company intends to charge $150 per month but with only a modest increase to the bandwidth cap, which climbs to 125GB. An initial rollout is due for mid-August in the greater Toronto area with other areas to come later.
Sony today said its Internet-aware BRAVIA TVs now have access to Netflix. Both newer sets with support built-in, as well as older sets using the add-on Internet Video Link, can access (but not add to) the Watch Instantly queue and stream movies or TV shows directly to the set. Whether or not it's capable of HD footage isn't clear.
(Update: proven fake) Google's just-announced Chrome OS may have already been spotted courtesy of a leak from a staffer for a part supplier for Acer, which is already confirmed as one of those producing netbooks using the new platform. Installed on an older notebook to prove it doesn't require a new PC, the private beta is extremely minimal and has a Windows 7-like taskbar with a program launch menu and running apps showing on the bar as icons. A search field can be added to the bar.
Nokia today confirmed details of its first rugged phone in recent memory. The 3720 classic meets IP-54 levels of resistance to dust, shock and water splashes with both a hardened, sealed shell and a battery cover that's screwed on. Nokia sees it as an ideal phone for those who regularly go camping or visit the beach, and to match gives it a relatively long talk time (7 hours) and an LED flashlight.
Samsung on Thursday expanded what's possible with very small hard drives with an upgrade to the Spinpoint N line. The N3U first achieves a storage record with up to 250GB of space in a 1.8-inch disk, spreading the data across two platters. The capacity would give portable media players and netbooks the same capacity as a typical 2.5-inch notebook drive but in both a smaller form (smaller than a credit card) and while using 40 percent less power.
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