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(Update with Apple confirmation) Apple has already cemented its deal to buy Lala, multiple sources said Friday evening. One tip claimed the web-based audio startup not only agreed to a deal quickly but voluntarily offered itself to Apple through iTunes VP Eddy Cue due to short-term doubts about Lala's profitability. Apple itself purportedly sees Lala as a resource grab and is concerned more with getting engineers experienced in streaming music than for the actual Lala service.
Intel is delaying the launch of its much-anticipated Larrabee standalone graphics chip. While only admitting that its Larrabee discrete graphics chip project was behind schedule and that it would initially only appear as a software development platform "next year," one analyst suggests that the company may be missing its performance targets for Intel's first major-market graphics chip.
Dell this evening declared its intent to make handheld devices a focus by creating a new communications division. The section will head up development of smartphones, such as the Mini 3i, as well as unspecified other devices. Global consumer business head Ron Garriques, who left Motorola, will lead the new group.
The FCC signaled its intent to advance the state of set-top TV boxes this week with a quietly published rulemaking notice. A request for comment (PDF) on "video device innovation" has noted that the CableCARD standard has failed to create the open digital environment for TV that the FCC had planned and that it wants input on how to spur development of replacement technology that would bring Internet access and other features to the traditionally closed-off cable and satellite TV realms.
Verizon today confirmed that the HTC Droid Eris will get an OS update to Android 2.0 early in 2010. The upgrade will come despite the phone shipping with Android 1.5 and receiving no immediate guarantees that it would be updated to match Android 2.0 on the Motorola Droid.
Apple may be on the verge of buying out streaming music site Lala, a leak indicated on Friday. The iTunes operator is understood to be in "very advanced" negotiations and may have even already agreed to all terms with only a formal signing needed to complete the deal. None of the companies involved have commented on the CNET rumor.
On her talk show on Thursday, Ellen DeGeneres gave away a Palm Pixi cellphone, Barnes & Noble's Nook reader, a MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot, a Powermat wireless charger and Nokia Booklet 3G netbook to every member in her audience. The bundle was the first in a series of giveaways, dubbed 12 Days of Giveaways.
The first Eee PC from ASUS to include the NVIDIA Ion platform, the 1201N, is now available for pre-order at online retailer Amazon. The 12.1-inch netbook sports a dual-core, 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, and has 2GB of RAM. Thanks to the Ion platform, the netbook can play HD videos.
Barnes & Noble today confirmed that it's shipping the first Nook readers to early customers. The dual-screen readers should reach the first shoppers sometime next week and will be accompanied by in-store demo units at its larger stores on Monday. Spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating wouldn't say how many units had been ordered before first shipments but did say there was a "high volume."
Motorola is planning a new, entry-level Android handset codenamed La Jolla, which is Spanish for "the jewel," according to a Friday AndroidandMe report. While this could mean the device will be aimed at fashion-conscious buyers, it is more likely derived from the location of Motorola's office of the same name in a resort community in San Diego. The LaJolla was first mentioned in the source code for the Motorola Cliq.
Blu-ray sales may have encountered a turning point on Thanksgiving weekend by saving a declining DVD market, based on results published today. Home Media Research notes that the HD format more than doubled its revenue in the US that period, climbing 224.04 percent to reach $69.06 million. At the same time, DVD sales actually declined during the normally very active period, dropping 7.89 percent to a still high $491.1 million.
Apple virtually dominated US retail computer sales in October, the NPD Group said in a report issued Friday. The new iMac, particularly the 21.5-inch model, was the top-selling desktop for the month while the 13-inch MacBook Pro was the leader in notebooks for the same period. The Mac creator in each case had multiple entries in the top 10 of each category, with the 27-inch iMac in third place for desktops while other MacBook models were eighth, ninth and tenth in notebooks.
The FCC today sent a letter to Verizon asking it to explain its recent decision to double cancellation fees for smartphone users. It comes prompted by existing investigations and a recently introduced bill by Senator Klobuchar that would force pro-rated fees. The letter expresses concern that Verizon may have inflated the fee to keep customers for phones like the Droid attached to the network for as long as possible.
A source who wishes to remain anonymous recently let Engadget know that the Barnes & Noble Nook reader will not ship to retailers in time for Christmas. The source is credible, as he correctly predicted on Thursday that the expected ship date for preorders of the device will be postponed until January 15th on Friday. Instead of the expected December 7th store ship date, the source maintains the Nook is now expected to arrive in stores sometime next year.
Microsoft has agreed to make some final changes to its web browser ballot system to accommodate requests, a tip indicated Friday. Following pressure on the European Commission from Google, Mozilla and Opera, the company has said it will randomize the order of the browser choices to provide an even playing field and will blank out the "Windows Internet Explorer" text in the title bar to avoid bias towards Microsoft's own platform.
Gaming peripheral maker SteelSeries has introduced a SteelSeries Adapter for mobile devices, which lets users plug in their existing two-plug headsets, gaming microphones or headphones into any device, mobile or otherwise, with a 3.5mm audio jack. SteelSeries says the adapter fully compatible with iPhones and 2nd-gen iPod touch devices. At the same time, SteelSeries released a limited edition Sudden Attack Ikari Laser Mouse and QcK Mass Mousepad.
Nokia on Friday revealed that it would close its flagship retail store in London's Oxford Circus area. The cellphone maker said simply that sales at the store were "disappointing" and couldn't sustain meaningful income for the company. Doors will officially close sometime early next year.
Kodak today bowed out of making OLED displays. The optics company says it has decided to "tighten [its] investment focus" and has sold the assets behind the display technology to LG for an undisclosed amount of money. In return, the two companies have entered into a cross-licensing deal that will let either have access to each other's OLED-related patents.
A phone coming to China Unicom, the XT701, is believed to preview the upcoming Motorola Droid tablet first spotted earlier this week. Apart from the photos, which show a large device on par with Sony Ericsson's XPERIA X10, a shot of the settings screen confirms that the device will run on Android 2.1. There is no hardware keyboard of any sort, unlike the standard Droid, but the phone has an unusual "hump" on one side.
Apple today quietly upgraded the Mac Pro and Xserve with a handful of feature upgrades. The single-processor Mac Pro now has the option of a 3.33GHz quad-core Xeon, pushing its clock speed up past a fully-equipped eight-core version's 2.93GHz limit. The Xserve has also been upgraded to accept 4GB RAM sticks and can recognize as much as 24GB of RAM in the single-processor version and 48GB in the dual-processor model.
Hearst today provided details of a new digital publishing system it hopes will make digital text more widespread. Skiff will have a store as well as an underlying gateway that lets Hearst and other firms both collect ad revenue from all their sources as well as adapt the same book, magazine or newspaper to a variety of formats. A single work could be reformatted to work with an iPhone, dedicated e-book readers or even tablet devices.
Fusion Garage chief Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan said late Thursday that he will hold a set of events to demonstrate the tablet formerly known as the CrunchPad and explain his company's side of the legal dispute over the device. The press briefings at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel haven't been given a specific goal other than to show Fusion Garage's "side of the story" as well as to provide a glimpse of how it has progressed so far.
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the countering Intel and NVIDIA lawsuits to determine whether Intel is violating antitrust laws, a leak maintained late Thursday. Sources said the US agency is concerned that Intel's original lawsuit was meant to stifle legitimate competition in system chipsets rather than guarding against a license violation. The investigation would be part of the larger antitrust hunt that had originally targeted AMD before its private settlement.
Intel could have a flurry of netbooks based on its Pine Trail platform in a single day if a claim on Friday bears out. Without pointing to secondary sources, DigiTimes asserts that Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and MSI have all agreed to wait to launch portables using the 1.66GHz Atom N450 on January 11th, a day after Intel should unveil the processor itself. Most of these would run Windows 7 Starter Edition, but companies will also have the pick of Intel's own Moblin Linux or Windows XP Home to lower the price.
Microsoft has extended its line of Zune HD colors with the release of purple and magenta. The two new colors adds to its existing platinum, black, green, red and blue, increasing the total number of available colors to 7. Purple and magenta can be chosen for either the 16GB or 32GB Zune HD models, while the 80GB is still only available in red or black and the 120GB in red. As part of a holiday promo, each purchase of a Zune player also provides users with a one month free subscription to Zune Pass, after which it's priced at $15 per month.
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