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The president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division, Robbie Bach, told several Wall Street analysts that the company is in the process of reworking its Windows Mobile strategy following a "challenging year," according to Betanews. Despite increasing unit shipments, the platform has continued to lose market share against competitors such as BlackBerrys and the iPhone.
The Palm Pre handset that's due at Canadian wireless provider Bell is likely very near its long-awaited launch, if a print ad is any indication. While in-store ads will still say coming soon, without a release date, customers will have the option of pre-ordering the handset.
Sharp and Sony on Thursday announced they have entered into a joint venture agreement related to the production and sales of large LCD panels and modules. Sharp's under-construction LCD production plant in Sakai City, Japan was transferred to Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP) on July 1st, with opening scheduled for October. On December 29th, Sony will invest 10 billion yen ($105 million) into SDP for shares, which will be the first step towards reaching the final 66% Sharp, 34% percent Sony split. This initial investment will make SDP a joint venture company of Sony as well as Sharp.
Sony on Wednesday announced that it has added more than 1 million public domain ebooks to its eBook Store. The free books were digitized thanks to the Google Books project, can be downloaded in the EPUB format and are optimized for use on Sony's Reader devices. Titles include classic novels including Treasure Island as well as biographies, historical texts, romance novels and numerous other genres. With his partnership, Sony says its ebook selection is the largest anywhere.
Despite a recent report to the contrary, Acer is still on track to deliver a promised Android powered netbook PC later this summer, according to a representative at the company. The announcement was made after reports of a delay emerged, and the Aspire One-series netbook will sport a 10-inch screen along with an Intel Atom CPU. Thus far, Acer's Aspire One runs on Windows XP, but a prototype device on display recently contained both operating systems. Acer executives said the production version will only have Android.
The Pirate Bay torrent hosting website has lost another court case in Amsterdam, this time at the hands of anti-piracy organization BREIN. According to a Thursday TorrentFreak report, the site is required to cease all operations in the Netherlands in 10 days or face maximum penalties of the equivalent of more than $4.2 million, or $42,300 per person per day after the deadline. Lawyers representing BREIN argued The Pirate Bay is responsible for millions of copyright infringements and needs to be blocked to Danish web users.
An ultra mobile PC (UMPC) has been spotted bearing China Mobile's G3 logo and a 3G connection using the country's native TD-SCDMA standard. While such a device would otherwise go unnoticed, this particular one comes with Android and features and an interface especially suited to the open-source operating system. The 7-inch touchscreen UMPC reportedly supports voice and video calling, web browsing, e-mailing and text and multimedia messaging, and even sports dedicated talk and end buttons, like a traditional handset.
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer today told those gathered at his company's financial analyst meeting that he fully anticipates stiffer competition, particularly from incumbent rivals like Apple, Linux and evetually Chrome OS. He contended that it was only natural for an OS as dominant as Windows to face a threat and maintained that Microsoft "deserves competition" to remain healthy. In spite of particular inroads by Apple, Microsoft's devotion to improving its OS for Windows 7 would keep it afloat.
A pair of images and some PDF manuals on Sony's own site (since pulled) have revealed that the electronics giant has plans to expand its e-book reader range beyond the PRS-505 and PRS-700. While not much is known about the new models, apparently called PRS-300 and PRS-600, the manuals mentioned that models for the US, Canadian, UK, French, German and Netherlands models will be introduced. Available colors will include silver, red and black, and like the current range, there is no Wi-Fi connection or built-in backlighting.
Nintendo today encountered a rare setback in its history owed partially to the impact of Apple on its business. The company's profit has dropped a steep 66 percent year-over-year to $426 million and said in a conference call that the iPhone and iPod touch, not Sony's PSP, are having the greatest impact on the performance of the DS and DSi. It also expects its fiscal 2010 profit to drop for the first time in years as a result of the added pressure from Apple's touchscreen devices.
Intel mobile group general manager on Wednesday put an end to earlier rumors that had the next generation Atom chip for netbooks, codenamed Pine Trail, has been delayed. Mobile platforms general manager Mooly Eden said Pine Trail is on schedule at an Intel Technology Summit on Wednesday in San Francisco. The chips should now be shipped in the second half of the year, with production versions on display at the Intel Developer Forum in September.
New information has allegedly surfaced on one of Motorola's upcoming Android phones. Expected to head to Verizon in October, the codenamed "Sholes" may also be the long-rumored Calgary device. Specifications point to a 3.7-inch, 480x854 touchscreen, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Memory may include 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM, with support for microSDHC cards up to 16GB. An 8GB card is said to be included by default.
Microsoft's struggling Zune media players may have been single-handedly responsible for a plunge in revenue at the Entertainment and Devices group and could be a sign of much deeper trouble for the line as a whole, analysts said Thursday. Although only a small part of Microsoft's poor spring quarter, revenues the group that handles both the Xbox 360 and Zune dropped by 42 percent year-over-year and alludes to Zune sales falling precipitously in the same time span. The Xbox 360 isn't likely to have contributed to the fall as it was one of the few consoles to see more systems shipped this spring than last.
In a rare mid-year update, Samsung this morning added a new, high-end lineup to its 8 series HDTVs. The 8500 series uses newer, pure white LED backlights with local dimming to boost the dynamic contrast ratio up to a very high 7,000,000:1, topping even the 5 million of the 8000 it replaces. A newer LCD panel improves brightness and visibility in ambient light, and a Natural mode tries to replicate the color behavior of normally more vibrant plasma displays without giving up brightness.
To complement the D3000 and D300s, Nikon today added two telephoto-ranged lenses, one of which fits these DX mount cameras. This lens, the DX 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR II, adds Nikon's second generation image stabilization that improves the anti-blur effect to the equivalent of shooting four shutter speeds slower than intended, an improvement particularly important at the telephoto distances of the new optics. The extra-low dispersion (ED) glass has also been improved to minimize both glare and ghosting.
Time Warner Cable has recently reported its earnings for the second quarter, which revealed an unexpected increase in profit of about 4 percent. At the same time, the cable company's CEO, Glenn Britt, told attendees that mobile WiMAX is coming soon from the provider. Britt promised more details are forthcoming, but went on record to say that a mobile broadband network will be released in the fall, naming Charlotte and Dallas as the first cities to get it. Time Warner was an early investor in Clearwire's WiMAX network, along with rival Comcast, and is therefore authorized to resell the service.
AT&T on Thursday quickly validated a leak by launching the Samsung Solstice. One of Samsung's few budget full touchscreen phones, the handset has a 3-inch touchscreen and provides haptic feedback to improve the physical feel of the on-screen buttons and QWERTY keyboard. Like the Impression, it has the widget-centric TouchWiz interface.
JVC this morning added a new, high-end HD camcorder to its mix. The Everio GZ-HM400 shoots the same 1080i widescreen, H.264 video as the GZ-X900 but has a more conventional form factor and has a sharper 10.2-megapixel sensor for shooting higher resolution photos. A new 10X Konica-Minolta lens also reduces chromatic aberration and is accompanied by extra controls to the left of the lens.
Nikon introduced a second DSLR today and for this targeted the very entry level previously occupied by the D40x and D60. The D3000 still shoots at 10.2 megapixels but has the much more modern imaging system of the D5000 and gets 11-point autofocus (up from just 3), the Active D-Lighting system that improves dynamic range and both 3D matrix metering as well as 3D tracking. Simplifying the experience for first-time DSLR users even further, the D3000 now has a special Guide mode: users pick shot settings based on icon-driven menus that reflect common situations rather than simply adjusting aperture, ISO or shutter speed.
Motorola this morning touted rare positive news with its first profit in several quarters. The company generated a net income of $26 million, or just a single cent per share, and owed much of the return to health due to major cost cuts, including 7,000 job cuts as well as selling Good Technology. Recent quarters have seen losses, and the company had broken even just the past spring.
Nikon on Thursday launched an update to its highest-end crop-frame DSLR. The D300s practically replaces the regular D300 and adds 720p, 24FPS video recording inherited from the D90 but with several improvements: it can now autofocus while shooting movies, change the color and tone of videos, and attach an external microphone. The autofocusing system is now faster than the D300 and, because it tracks 51 points instead of the D90's 11, can better follow a given subject.
JVC has released a new series of foldable headphones, called the Black series, and two new in-ear headphones, the HA-EBX85 and HA-FX20. The Black series is available in two models, the HA-M750 and HA-S650, that are both over-the-head style headphones and use large driver units with carbon compound diaphragms for their bass reproduction. The two Black series headphones also have carbon bodies with anti-resonance properties to improve their sound clarity.
LG at an evening event Thursday opted to unveil a major reworking of its LCD HDTVs first in the US. The SL80 and SL90 together have a near-seamless look that tries to hide the separation between the bezel, the LCD and the speakers. Of the two, the SL90 is also LG's technology leader and has an LED backlight that ramps the dynamic contrast ratio up to a company-best 3,000,000:1. Appropriately, it also gets a 240Hz refresh rate, an ambient light sensor and audio tuning that adjusts the volume for spoken dialogue without touching most anything else in a movie or TV show. It becomes one of LG's thinnest at 1.15 inches deep.
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