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Google at a Los Angeles event tonight unveiled its widely expected advanced music search feature. The addition (a video of which is available below) automatically parses regular searches for music from all four major labels and automatically filters it by artist, album or track; users can then either sample or buy the tracks through Lala or MySpace's iLike. Those who use recommendation-based Internet streaming service like iMeem, Pandora or Rhapsody can also find related music.
Sony has resolved a dispute with Vizio over the latter company's patents involving technology used in LCD televisions. Rather than fight the battle in court, Sony decided to become a licensee for rights to use the technology from Vizio's patent portfolio.
Apple's ad budget for its 2009 fiscal year surpassed $500 million for the first time, as noted in the company's Form 10-K filing with the SEC. Spending from 2008 was closer to $486 million, while the 2007 budget was approximately $467 million. According to Fortune, the Mac maker's marketing spending is still modest compared to the $1.4 billion spent by Microsoft or the $811 million dished out by Dell.
Sony Ericsson's Aino handset has arrived in the US market as an unlocked model sold through Sony's online store. The device marks the company's first touchscreen slider, with several high-end features such as an 8.1-megapixel camera with flash and image stabilization. A Media Home feature can be used to sync media content with a desktop computer via Wi-Fi.
Shares of GPS device makers Garmin and TomTom plummeted today through a combination of their quarterly results and the launch of Google Maps Navigation. Following both low guidance for Garmin's next quarter as well as poor results from TomTom, shares for the two fell 16.4 percent and 20.8 percent respectively and remained low through the entire trading day after news of Google's free, turn-by-turn mapping service became public.
Apple engineers are scaling up the number of trips to China to prepare for new products, a rumor indicates this evening. Visits to the Asian manufacturing base are reported by SAI as accelerating and may even include trips during the holidays. The exact nature of the trips isn't mentioned other than that at least one system integration engineer has been one of those making the trips.
A lawsuit filed by St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants has targeted Apple for allegedly using camera technology protected by several patents. The four patents, each relating to digital camera systems, were originally issued to a company named Personal Computer Cameras, although St. Clair purchased the technology between 1995 and 2001.
Nokia on Wednesday announced it is now shipping the N97 mini and has released a new update for its N97 smartphone. The newer N97 variant still has a QWERTY keyboard that angles out but has a smaller 3.2-inch touchscreen, a more compact keyboard and 8GB of built-in flash instead of the larger model's 32GB. It costs the equivalent of $664 in Europe, where it's sold unlocked and without a contract and should also be available subsidized through carriers in the near future.
A letter sent back to a curious HTC Hero owner from HTC Customer Support reveals the European version of the smartphone will skip the Android 1.6 update in favor of the latest update do the OS, 2.0. While no dates for the update were given, the HTC letter urges the customer to visit HTC's website regularly for the release. What is also unknown, but very likely, is that HTC Heros in other markets, the US included, will get a similar update and forego 1.6 altogether.
Astak has announced the release of a standalone computer camera, the Mole on Wednesday. The wireless Wi-Fi camera can upload videos to YouTube, detect motion and alert users via Twitter or e-mail, and let them see what it sees via an iPhone or web browser. It can also record what it sees onto SD cards.
A less expensive companion to the Olympus E-P1 digital camera, the E-P2, may be officially revealed on October 31st. This is indicated by Olympus' Chinese website, which is already listing the camera. Both the E-P1 and E-P2 rely on the Micro Four Thirds standard.
Logitech on Wednesday said it will soon ship the Harmony IR Extender System. The device will allow users to extend the range of their existing infrared remote controls, or letting them control components that are hidden out of sight and range in cabinets or even different rooms. The plug and play product passes the signal to connected wired IR blasters and mini blasters that in turn pass on the signal to the system components.
A leak today has revealed that Verizon plans to drive home its ad campaign for the Motorola Droid with a major promo in Times Square. Likely timed with the Android phone's launch next week, Verizon is said to be taking over the NASDAQ and Reuters billboards with promos that let visitors temporarily take control of the signs by giving them voice commands, mimicking Android 2.0's feature. A mockup for BGR suggests visitors will call a phone number and enter a queue until the ads are ready.
Peek will soon offer a new product that will add Twitter support to the existing e-mail and text messaging functionality of the existing devices. While nothing official is known, a leaked image of the box for the Twitter Peek indicates this is indeed true. Like other Peek devices, the new Peek product will allow unlimited updates over T-Mobile's EDGE network in the US.
Sony this afternoon launched a recall of AC power adapters for two of its all-in-one desktops for a potential shock hazard. All VAIO JS2 and LT desktops sold between September 2005 and today that use a particular AC adapter, the AC19V17, are believed at risk of shocking owners following four reports outside of the US of the adapters short circuiting on their own. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recall affects about 69,000 devices that also include Sony's PRBX1 and PRFE1 VAIO Docking Stations for notebooks.
The UK government's business secretary, Lord Mandelson, has confirmed initial plans to cut off Internet service for those who persistently, illegally download files. The policy should take effect in the summer of 2011 but will allegedly be considered a "last resort" after three notifications. After two initial warnings with close monitoring over the space of a year, Internet users would be disconnected with three months' opportunity to appeal the decision.
The Droid Eris could cost almost half as much as the Hero at Sprint when it goes on sale, a source says today. The "very trustworthy" insider tells gdgt that the HTC Android phone should cost $99 (likely $100) on a Verizon contract when it ships November 6th. The price compares roughly to the Hero at Cellular South but is much lower than Sprint's $180 asking cost for the same phone.
Having just introduced its IdeaCentre B500 all-in-one, Lenovo today quietly provided a teaser on its Flickr account for a new ThinkCentre counterpart. The lone photo has few details but does confirm built-in speakers, a webcam and a wireless keyboard and mouse combo. Most ThinkCentre PCs are higher-end and are likely to involve Core 2 processors.
At the currently ongoing FPD International 2009 in Japan, LG Display and Samsung Mobile Display have shown off two see-through OLED prototype displays. Either display replaces the backing with transparent material, allowing viewers to see what's behind the display with black backgrounds. This is achieved thanks to translucent materials used for the positive and negative electrodes. Both displays are also sandwiched between plates of transparent material.
The Windows PCs at Microsoft's first retail stores are deliberately purged of the third-party apps they would normally carry, employees and eyewitnesses have confirmed. Product Advisor Jared Marino explains these systems, regardless of the brand, are considered Signature PCs and won't include any unnecessary third-party software. In exchange, they come preloaded with the normally optional Windows Live Essentials pack as well as extras like Bing 3D Maps, Security Essentials and the Zune client.
Eye-Fi on Wednesday said it has added Facebook support to its Wi-Fi enabled digital camera memory cards, letting them upload photos and videos without a PC. At the same time, they can alert their friends on the social networking site when they upload photos to one of more than 25 other photo sharing sites the cards already support.
Google today provided added details of the turn-by-turn mapping service found on the Motorola Droid. Google Maps Navigation adds many of the features that would normally exist in a dedicated GPS unit, such as a bird's-eye view and spoken directions, but takes advantage of Google's existing Maps features. Traffic is free in those areas where Google provides service, and Street View can show directions overlaid on top of in-location photos.
JVC entered into the low-cost Blu-ray player field on Wednesday through the XV-BP11. It recognizes only Blu-ray Profile 1.1, omitting Internet features, but also measures just 1.5 inches tall. It still carries a front-panel USB connection for plugging in and viewing content from camcorders, digital cameras and USB thumb drives. It natively recognizes AVCHD (H.264) video used in HD camcorders along with recorded Blu-ray, CD and DVD discs.
Apple has flatly rejected Intel's Moorestown Atom platform for being too power-hungry, a rumor claims today. Unnamed industry contacts say Intel reportedly approached Apple on its own to suggest the ultra-mobile platform but that the Mac creator rejected it outright due to power concerns. According to the Fudzilla source, Apple needed idle power consumption about ten times lower than what Moorestown can manage.
Motorola today officially took the wraps from the Droid, its flagship Android phone and Verizon's primary challenger to the iPhone. The touchscreen slider is the first Android phone anywhere to use Android 2.0 and carries its new web browser, Exchange mail and other boosts. Notably, it also introduces a beta version of Google Maps Navigation, Google's first turn-by-turn app: the service uses voice commands to provide constant, spoken driving directions.
VIZIO today claimed a small first in HDTVs by launching two small LCDs with LED backlighting. The 19-inch VM190XVT and 23-inch VM230XVT are more color-accurate as a result of the new illumination and are also more energy efficient; they consume less power at peak but also have ambient light sensors to dim the display in dark environments. Each has a display that measures less than one inch at its thinnest point.
After a significant delay past its original summer goal, Lenovo on Wednesday began selling a version of its IdeaPad S12 netbook with NVIDIA's Ion graphics onboard. The upgrade comes in tandem with Windows 7 Home Premium and gives it enough visual power to support the full Aero Glass interface as well as to decode 1080p video and handle some more recent 3D. Lenovo also adds Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless peripherals.
Verizon as promised has begun selling the BlackBerry Storm2 online and, later today, through its retail stores. The touchscreen smartphone costs $180 after an immediate online discount but only reaches the same price at retail after a $100 mail-in rebate. Notably, however, the carrier is already putting the phone in its Buy One, Get One promo and will let buyers get a second Storm2 for free.
A new PC startup, litl, is known today to be readying an unusual netbook design with a rare customized operating system. An FCC filing for the Easel reveals a 12-inch system whose display can bend past 180 degrees and with a deliberately rounded, child-friendly look. However, it should also run a custom version of Linux with a "card" interface that lets users pick from blue cards for core apps and settings, black channel cards for news, weather and other widgets, and white cards for Firefox pages.
Revo has introduced Heritage, its latest multi-format digital radio with an iPod docking station. It earns its name from a classic European table radio design from the 50's and 60's, that includes aluminum, soft plastics, and walnut trim. Sound is nonetheless more modern with a custom designed 3-inch neodymium speaker driver, a 7W amplifier, and an OLED display. It supports a series of different broadcast types such as the UK's DAB and DAB+ digital radio broadcasts as well as FM and Internet radio over Wi-Fi.
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