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Barnes & Noble's first e-book reader should launch soon and could introduce a watershed feature for any reader, a contacts claim this evening. The bookstore supposedly has a "major event" scheduled for October 20th where it's likely to introduce the e-book reader it promised for the end of the year. The device is likely to be a grayscale reader but to use AT&T 3G for downloading books online.
Avenir Telecom has introduced a new line of audio and networking accessories, along with mobile phone cases for UK retailers and resellers. Its audio devices center on the Bluetooth Stereo Headphone, which gives personal listening to an iPhone, iPod touch or any other A2DP-aware device, and the Dual Air Bluetooth Streamer, which plugs into any iPhone or iPod touch and simultaneously transmits music to two pairs of wireless headphones. Also available is the Bluetooth Pocket Hands-Free Car Kit, which is approximately the size of a credit card and sticks directly onto a windshield or dashboard for taking voice calls.
Microsoft this week said that it would venture into free productivity apps with a Starter Edition of Office 2010 for Windows. The special version will be free to use but will have feature-reduced versions of Excel and Word as well as ads that run in a sidebar with the app window. It will only come with a new PC rather than come as a download, but it will have an option to download a more complete version such as Home & Student Edition.
HP this afternoon provided fuller details of its special-run Envy 15 Beats (link active soon) notebook. It expands on the reference version by bundling a pair of Beats over-ear headphones as well as bundling Traktor LE for live DJing. Cosmetically, the model comes in the same glossy black and red as most Beats earphones.
A third Android device, likely due out early next year, will be the first with the Google operating system that will be certified for Verizon's Open Development program, according to a Friday Unstrung report. This new device is unnamed but will join more than 30 wireless devices sold by independent vendors that can run on Verizon's CDMA network. Verizon's upcoming Android-based phones Desire and Droid, aren't part of that program and are locked to Verizon's network.
The FCC today told Google that it will investigate the company's policies regarding its Google Voice calling service (registration required). Acting on requests by AT&T and politicians, the agency hopes to determine whether or not the company is violating must-connect rules by refusing to complete Google Voice calls made to certain numbers, particularly those in some rural areas as well as to 900 numbers and other lines that have expensive access rates.
The Mini 3G handset introduced by INQ earlier this summer is now being offered by wireless provider 3. The candybar handset is meant for younger owners heavily involved in social networking, as it can be customized with body covers in eight different colors and has shortcuts for access to Facebook, IM programs, Skype and Twitter.
Sony Ericsson announced it will return to the North American market with cellphone sales at the CTIA show which wraps up today. Sony Ericsson's head of developer and partner content and services, William Maggs, said in a Friday Gearlog report that the company is planning on coming back to the US market with its smartphone sales, and the XPERIA X2 is likely to lead that return. The new-gen Windows Mobile handset is being shown off at CTIA.
Kingston on Friday announced the release of its MobileLiteG2 flash card reader. The second generation of the ultra-portable USB 2.0 device supports SDHC, microSDHC, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and Memory Stick Micro (M2) memory cards. It has retractable covers over its USB connection and the memory card slot.
(Updated with talk of $50 unlimited plan) T-Mobile's mysterious Project Black may be a combination of the company's phones and a rapid expansion of its fastest 3G service, a quick follow-up source said Friday. Rather than center on a specific device or a plan, Black would on pushing T-Mobile's upcoming high-end phones, including the Behold II, Bold 2 and Cliq, and matching them with the quick deployment of its 21Mbps HSPA+ network throughout the US. The timetable and the specific plans are still unknown by BGR and others.
The Android-powered Archos 5 portable multimedia player is now being offered online through Amazon (links below). The device is equipped with a 5-inch screen that sports an 800x480 pixel resolution. Thanks to its ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Archos 5 is capable of decoding 720p HD video smoothly and has an optional HDMI dock lets users output the video at its full resolution.
National 4G provider Clearwire is bound to keep using WiMAX for its network until at least 2011, an SEC filing discovered this week has found. The carrier is now known to have struck a deal with Intel that requires it use WiMAX for at least the next two years in exchange for marketing help from the chipmaker. Clearwire also has to share revenue whenever the subscriber's device is Intel-based as well as pay a limited number of activation fees.
O2 UK has reportedly begun telling customers to expect the HTC HD2 in just over a week. The carrier expects the phone to be available on October 19th, or significantly ahead of HTC's official end-of-month target for the phone. Other carriers have yet to describe their own plans, though T-Mobile is also believed to be picking up the Windows Mobile 6.5 phone in the near future.
Information on the iRiver N20 portable media player has been scarce until now, as the company has released nearly all details for the device. First teased this summer, the N20 is unique in using a four-line, 128x56-pixel grayscale passive matrix OLED (PMOLED) display for track info rather than an LCD. It's further now known to be available in either 2GB or 4GB capacities and will play back MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, OGG, and WAV files.
Telus' imminent HSPA 3G network has received what should be a more definitive launch date as well as its initial phone lineup. Multiple reports from insiders in HowardForums have staffers training to be ready on or before November 3rd for the new network. The preparation window would have the HSPA deploy at its earliest opportunity and may give a specific timeframe for the announced November iPhone launch on the Canadian network.
Nikon in the past day has all but confirmed plans to launch the D3s, or a similar high-profile camera, through multiple reports of press events. Formal gatherings in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are all slated to take place on October 14th and provide information on an unnamed product presumed to be the pro camera. The news suggests Nikon will formally unveil that day or the day before and give the media hands-on time later on.
Nokia on Friday revealed early details of Maemo 6, its next-generation smartphone platform. The OS will be the first to natively support multi-touch and capacitive touchscreens and should finally put the Linux-based OS on par with modern platforms like iPhone or webOS. Until now, the software has depended on single-touch resistive (pressure-dependent) screens incapable of gestures or other more precise movements.
Samsung on Friday revealed that its flagship Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone will be part of its Armani-themed fashion line. The device has a bronze-trimmed theme meant to appeal both to executives and other more style conscious users, but it's also one of the company's more functionally advanced devices. It centers on a 3.5-inch AMOLED display more vibrant than LCDs and has a sliding QWERTY design that, like the HTC Touch Pro2 or Nokia N97, tilts the screen at an angle for a more natural viewpoint when typing.
ASUS has recently announced pricing and a release date for its previously announced UnLimited (UL) series of notebooks for the UK. Two of the three models will ship to the country's retail electronics stores on October 22nd. This includes the 13.3-inch UL30 and two variations of the 15.6-inch UL50, the UL50AG and UL50VG. There is no word on the 14-inch UL80, however. All three use Intel's CULV processors and some are claimed to provide up to 12 hours of battery life.
Microsoft's Pink phone project may be on the verge of falling apart even before its first product ships, according to a controversial set of leaks supposedly confirmed today. Backing a scoop from earlier in the week, a source for AppleInsider says Microsoft has poorly managed the project and squandered the acquisition of Sidekick creator Danger from 2008. Rather than implement Danger's advice, the larger company has watched the majority of the team either fired or leave in frustration as the majority of their advice is ignored.
NVIDIA's Ion 2 chipset is still due to ship before the end of year and could provide a significant boost not just to netbooks but to notebooks using Intel's CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) processors as well, an update from the company has shown. In addition to supporting the timeframe, an executive heading chipset development has reportedly confirmed rumors that the next-generation Ion will support processors other than the Atom, including the Celeron, Core 2 and Pentium processors that make up CULV as well as VIA's competing Nano design.
The BlackBerry Bold 2 (known as the 9700) could ship for T-Mobile three weeks after it's unveiled, based on a new rumor. So far pegged for an October 21st unveiling alongside the AT&T model, the smartphone is described by a BGR tipster as actually shipping the device on November 11th, or exactly three weeks after it becomes public. It's still unknown whether or not the AT&T version will ship at the same time.
Barnes & Noble spokesman Daniel Joresson at CTIA appears to have confirmed a timeframe in a video (available below) for what's likely the first color e-book reader available in the US. The Plastic Logic device would be smaller than the 8.5x11-inch large model proposed early on and would have just a paperback-sized display. However, it would have its own direct access to Barnes & Noble's bookstore and would be ready by spring 2010, or considerably earlier than an Amazon Kindle with color or most other rivals.
Although Wilson Electronics has yet to formally announce its latest cellular amplifier, the company at CTIA previewed an upcoming device designed for vehicles, the U-Booster Sleek. Wilson's focus on quality and performance was highlighted in a recent review, although the high-end equipment typically carries a hefty price tag. The upcoming device retains the core functionality, but with a smaller form factor and a fraction of the cost.
Several videos have surfaced that claim a revised Palm Pre may be heading to Mexico's Telcel carrier, allegedly with the addition of a MicroSD card slot. The videos, originating from the Mexican site Matuk, contain a preview of the Pre sporting a Telcel icon. The person in the video makes a reference to a memory card slot.
Along with Nokia's Booklet 3G, Electronista at CTIA also had a chance to fondle the upcoming N900 smartphone. Despite criticisms of the predecessor, the N97, the N900 represents a fresh attempt for the company to edge ahead against its competitors in the smartphone arena.
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