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Apple chief Steve Jobs has spent "almost all" his time since his return to work developing the heavily rumored tablet device, according to sources close to the company. Those "people familiar with the matter" tell the WSJ that the executive is committing a level of attention to the project not seen since the original iPhone's development. The sheer control has reportedly been a shock to some workers, who during Jobs' roughly six-month medical leave had some relative freedom on projects.
The Federal Trade Commission has given antitrust permission to the proposed merger between Sprint Nextel and Virgin Mobile USA, according to Reuters. Sprint in July initially announced its plans to take over the smaller carrier for $483 million, building upon its current 13.1 percent stake. The deal will merge Virgin's prepaid service with Boost Mobile.
The US International Trade Commission has reportedly begun an investigation focusing on several companies that produce or purchase NAND flash components, including Samsung, RIM, Apple and others, according to Barron's. BTG International has accused Samsung of violating several patents involving "MLC" type flash memory.
Nokia chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was put on the defensive late yesterday in an interview regarding the poor performance of the N97 versus Apple's iPhone. When asked by the FT about the critical reaction to his own smartphone, which has been criticized for being too expensive, too slow and lacking a modern touch interface, the executive claimed the N97 was still viable but admitted he wanted to do better, particularly highlighting the increasing emphasis on Ovi services like the music store and navigation.
RingCentral Mobile, an app with very similar features to those of Google Voice, has been overlooked by the FCC, says BrainStorm Tech. Should Apple's public response to the FCC be considered earnest, the website asserts RingCentral would have faced similar scrutiny by Apple, given the numerous similarities between it and Google Voice. The column additionally notes that the RingCentral app was the template from which both Google Voice, and its predecessor, GrandCentral, were built.
AT&T will introduce an operating system update that will finally bring visual voicemail to the provider's BlackBerry Bold smartphone. While a rumor of this update has been around since January, an official AT&T document reveals the functionality will become available on Tuesday, August 25th. The update, 18.104.22.1687, will endow the BlackBerry Bold with free visual voicemail capability.
PC and related peripherals maker ASUS recently introduced two uBoom series speakers that connect to notebooks through USB 2.0. The uBoom and uBoom Q sound bar-style speaker sets deliver bass as well thanks to a tuned reflex port. Essentially portable 2.1-channel speaker systems, both pods have two 2-inch drivers and a single subwoofer, sized at 2.5 inches in the uBoom and 2.25 in the uBoom Q. Each has an amplifier with 24W RMS of power.
The Pirate Bay torrent site, following its loss in a Swedish court, has now gone offline, after the site's Internet Service Provider was ordered by the court to take it offline. The ISP, Black Internet, faced a fine equivalent to $70,600 for not complying with the law. The Pirate Bay operators have found another ISP, however, with the service expected to come back online on Tuesday.
Images, screen captures and specs of the upcoming HTC Mega smartphone, first spotted earlier this month, have been unveiled in a recent ai.rs blog post. The device is expected to be priced as an entry-level smartphone and be powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional. Its 2.8-inch, 240x320 resolution touchscreen is run by HTC's TouchFLO interface, and the handset supports HSPA for 3G on top of GSM and EDGE.
MSI's ultra-low voltage 15.6-inch notebook PC, the X600 can now be purchased and is priced at $800. Part of MSI's ultra-slim X-Slim series, the X600 features a 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo CPU, a six-cell battery, a 320GB hard drive with Windows Vista Home Premium and a 15.6-inch LCD with a 1366x768 resolution, in a package that's less than one inch thick and weighs about 5.5lbs.
Microsoft debunked some claims of a unified app store for smartphones by launching OneApp on Monday. The software is aimed at bringing relatively complex Internet apps like Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live Messenger to regular, feature-limited phones. It pools all of these into the namesake single app and keeps the footprint down to just 150K while only loading both the local and cloud-based data that's actually needed.
Sony Ericsson's XPERIA X2 smartphone may finally have its public appearance next week if a rumor bears fruit. A press launch has purportedly been "confirmed" by SEMC Blog for next week that would center on just one device, likely involving the new smartphone. Other details aren't provided and potentially cast doubt on the claim.
Jabra on Monday began shipping its latest Bluetooth A2DP compatible headset, the dual-microphone HALO, which was first introduced in April. The headset is compatible with BlackBerry handsets as well as Apple's iPhone and second-generation iPod touch, and can sync with two devices simultaneously. The headset can be folded for ease of carrying and has a 3.5mm headset jack and cable to connect to source devices when Bluetooth cannot be used or isn't an option. The HALO's display shows battery and connection status, while a touch-based volume control lets users adjust the loudness of the headset.
A single press shot of the Nokia N900 has been leaked that eliminates most doubts about the tablet's existence. The shot from BeGeek not only identifies the device but encompasses many of the assumed features of the tablet, including its use of Maemo instead of Symbian for the interface as well as its built-in phone functionality and a front video camera for two-way calls.
AMD's major video chipset update this fall has had its feature set and release date uncovered thanks to a slip of information Monday. The ATI Radeon HD 5800 series should be fronted by the 5850 and 5870, both high-end cards that could be the first to support Eyefinity, a technology that not unlike Matrox cards will support three displays on a single card. They are also to be AMD's first graphics cores to support DirectX 11 and OpenGL 3.1 visual effects in hardware.
A group that calls itself the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has publicly accused computer maker Dell of dishonest business practices, by not honoring its advertised next-day parts and labor warranty. CREW has created a website dedicated to its cause and has asked all Dell customers who have experienced similar problems to speak out against the PC maker. At the same time, CREW has complained to the DC Attorney General.
Having only recently announced another collection, Onkyo has revealed details on three more TX-series receivers. These begin with the NR1007, which is capable of 135W of output across each of 9.2 channels. The unit handles decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and additionally supports formats such as Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX. It is compliant with DLNA 1.5 and THX Ultra2 Plus standards.
NVIDIA general manager of mobile Mike Rayfield today hinted at a future Tegra-based device in coming months in a video interview (seen below) that may hint at links to Apple. The executive told Hexus that an unnamed company is developing a "media pad" that would have 3G and a touchscreen between 7 and 13 inches in size that would be based on the chip. No indication was given as to the feature set other than the entertainment focus.
iRex today more officially stepped into the US market for e-book readers by cementing a deal for the Barnes & Noble online bookstore. The company now plans to integrate the digital book service both with its own readers as well as for "other devices." It's not specified which readers would be involved or when the deal will take effect.
Sennheiser has announced it will soon add the MM 400 and MM 450 Travel Bluetooth 2.1 over-the-ear headsets to its Mobile Music lineup. Intended for music and phone calls, both the MM 400 and MM 450 Travel have an invisible microphone and have a wired connection option with the included cable and adapters for when wireless connections are not an option, like on a flight, or when users want to save battery life. Controls are placed on the right speaker pod, including volume, power and track navigation buttons. Meant for travelers, the headsets fold flat in their molded travel cases, and the headband is reinforced with metal to avoid snapping. Either also has an airline-friendly adapter.
Sanyo today brought out a new compact HD camcorder likely destined for the US. The Xacti CG11 records at 720p like many of Sanyo's newer cameras but has built-in recognition of Eye-Fi's cards, such as the Eye-Fi Video line. The hook lets users share video over Wi-Fi to YouTube and elsewhere without having to plug in. Versus the CG10, the new device also gets a mini HDMI port to preview content at full resolution through only an optional cable.
Software developer Torch Mobile on Monday hinted at Research in Motion's (RIM) future plans for the BlackBerry by confirming that it has been bought out by the Canadian smartphone maker. While the terms of the deal aren't known, Torch explicitly says it expects to bring its experience with developing WebKit-based browsers like Iris to BlackBerry devices. It will similarly continue to develop WebKit as part of its open-source nature.
Taiwanese PC maker Shuttle has been rumored on Monday morning to be looking at recruiting a team of 40 employees from notebook maker ECS. Industry contacts for DigiTimes claimed that the small form factor desktop and nettop specialist not only plans to add staff but also plans on raising funds by issuing 150,000 new shares meant for private placement, with Inventec's chairman Kou-I Yeh named as one such potential investor.
Intel is on the verge of dramatically swelling the ranks of its CULV (Consumer Ultra Low-Voltage) processor ranks if a leak of early information proves true. The chip producer is seen by Fudzilla as shipping seven processors in early October that would significantly expand the range. Two low-end models, the SU2500 and SU2600, should be joined by the mid-range SU4100, SU4500 and SU4700 as well as the high-end SU7300 and SU7800.
A leak from within Verizon today has provided a detailed outline of the company's phone launches for the rest of the year and hints that some high-profile phones may ship early. The Motorola Sholes, LG Chocolate Touch and BlackBerry 9550 (Storm 2) are all believed by BGR to be shipping in October and would give Verizon's high-end phones a major upgrade in short succession, including its first Android phone (through the Sholes). The roadmap also confirms the BlackBerry Curve 8530 coming in late November, possibly being renamed the Curve 2.
Revo this morning claimed the high ground in radio docks through the unveiling of the IKON. The system aims to be a center for all digital audio with DAB+ radio (for the UK), Internet radio through many sources that include Last.fm, Pandora, Rhapsody and Sirius, an iPhone/iPod dock and media sharing from Macs and PCs on the local Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. A unique advantage in the field is a 3.5-inch touchscreen that provides both a much more context-sensitive interface for each source but displays album art, song data and anything else a given format allows.
Nokia on Monday entered the computer business in earnest with the Booklet 3G, its first PC of any kind and its first netbook. The system has some typical netbook specs, such as an unidentified Intel Atom chip and a 10-inch display, but aims to exploit Nokia's experiences with batteries and cellular technology. The Booklet is one of the longest-lasting netbooks and should last up to 12 hours on a charge, according to Nokia; it also has its namesake built-in 3G and GPS to give it an Internet connection and navigation when away from Wi-Fi, including the use of Ovi Maps.
Real this morning branched out to Apple devices in earnest by revealing a port of its Rhapsody service to the iPhone and iPod touch. Normally only offered through rival players like those from SanDisk, the service gives subscribers access to the full song catalog and lets them queue up any of the 8 million songs from Rhapsody on request. It also provides access to playlists, Rhapsody Radio and every other service normally available through the full-function website, Real claims.
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