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As many industries continue to struggle in the current economic climate, a new IDC report suggests worldwide computer shipments have finally grown in the third quarter of 2009. Although sales expanded by a meager 2.3 percent, the gain follows three consecutive quarters of decline.
Leaked images allegedly show Motorola's upcoming Backflip handset, according to Phandroid. The source of the images claims the device is referred to as the Enzo. The smartphone will be AT&T's first Android-based offering, with several specific customizations including Motorola's Blur interface, Yahoo search, and the AT&T's Nav, Music, and Mobile App utilities. Many of the standard Google apps have reportedly been omitted, except for Maps and the Android Market.
As promised earlier today, Microsoft has finally launched its native Twitter app for the Zune. The software provides a faster, native alternative to the web for the service and covers most of the core features, including favorites and searches. It doesn't, however, include facilities for native geolocation or the official retweeting format.
Continental Airlines today set out more concrete plans for its in-flight Wi-Fi service. Pushed back from its original January 2009 target, the service is now due to launch in spring aboard 21 Boeing 757 airliners. Most of these will be present on domestic flights, the transport service says.
Google on Wednesday acted on claims that Android had broken the 20,000 app mark with a correction. Following a third-party tracker's claims, the search firm now says that Android Market has just over 16,000 apps as of today. It also tells TechCrunch that it doesn't disclose the ratio of free to paid apps but stops short of either confirming or denying the roughly 62/38 percent bias towards free apps.
Verizon teased the long-term future of its FiOS service today by confirming that it's the first to test a new form of passive fiber optic network that could dramatically increase the practical speeds of its Internet access. Called XG-PON, the test service has been shown running through a test FiOS home at up to 10Gbps downstream, or about four times faster than the existing 2.5Gbps infrastructure. Uploads are about twice as fast at 2.4Gbps versus 1.24Gbps on today's hardware.
Researches at the University of Tokyo have developed what they are calling organic flash memory, which shares its basic structure with flash memory but is made entirely of organic materials. Its erasing and reading voltages are rated at a low 6V and 1V, respectively, though data can only be written and erased more than 1,000 times. Foreseen uses of the new memory include large area sensors, electronic paper and other big electronic devices, though the founders admit the technology's memory retention time of only one day needs to be extended.
Sony is planning to release a device called HID-C10, with the prefix standing for Home Information Device, according to a recent FCC filing. While details are scarce, it is known that the device will connect to TVs and has a Wi-Fi connection. As such, the device could just offer a wire-free Internet connection for Sony's web-connected HDTVs.
Taiwan's MSI, known mainly for its PCs, has released its latest portable media player, the MT-V660. The device is styled after Microsoft's Zune HD and uses a Rockchip RK2806 chipset along with a 3.2-inch display with a 480x320 resolution. Videos can also be played back thanks to the MSI device's TV output, something the Microsoft device does not have without an optional dock.
The number of active iPhone users in the US has passed that of Windows Mobile for the first time, new data from comScore shows. After just pulling even with Microsoft in July, Apple's smartphone platform jumped to an average of 8.97 million current users in October, well ahead of Microsoft's 7.13 million. The iPhone has regularly had higher market share now has also surpassed Windows Mobile devices in its actual user base.
AT&T on Wednesday has made its 3G mobile broadband network available to the residents of Vermont. Major cities in the state, including Killington, Vernon, Warren and more will receive the faster service this week, with more cities coming online by December 31st. This includes but is not limited to Stowe, Jamaica and Winooski. Later, in 2010, Barre, Montpelier and Northfield, among others, will also get the faster service.
PSP users can start downloading digital comic books to their portable gaming platforms later on Today, Sony announced on Wednesday. The service will go live in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa today as well, with an Ireland release being delayed due to technical issues. Before users can download their selection from hundreds of new and classic collections in the Comic Store found in the PlayStation Store, they will need to up download a free Digital Comics Reader.
A Panasonic patent was spotted on the web recently for an unnamed Four Thirds DSLR camera. The patent reveals a camera with a live view mode in addition to at a traditional optical viewfinder. A CMOS sensor is shown in the specs, but video recording will not be supported.
Hints that Verizon is readying itself for Palm phones gained momentum today with a leak of training material. The carrier is now believed to be giving 20-minute training sessions both on Palm as a company and webOS specifically that started Tuesday and run until January 4th, just ahead of its CES keynote. No details are given to the Phone Arena tipster what device or devices will be available.
Oregon cable provider BendBroadband today stood poised to upturn the cellular data industry by launching its own high-speed 3G service with much higher limits than usual. The HSPA+ network runs at up to 15Mbps, and typically 6-8Mbps, but is most notable for its bandwidth cap. Where most such services limit users to just 5GB of data transfers per month, the company's top-tier $65 monthly service provides 50GB of data and in many cases could use 3G as a primary Internet connection.
Neato Robotics on Wednesday introduced a robotic vacuum cleaner that will automatically clean floors. The XV-11 is the first such device to use laser vision to avoid most obstacles in a room without hitting them. Thanks to the RPS tech, the XV-11 has a 360-degree view of a room and can see doorways, walls, furniture and other obstacles that are more than four inches tall and up to over 13 feet away. It is also short enough, at just under four inches, to clean under beds and couches. Its D-shaped design also lets it get deeper into corners for more thorough cleaning. Its dirt bin is sized at 0.69 quarts.
Microsoft this afternoon began rolling out a dedicated Twitter app for the Zune HD. The app gives the media player its first native client for the micromessaging service instead of having to use the built-in web browser. It should be free and available for most users on Zune Marketplace by early afternoon Pacific time.
Video and game rental chain Blockbuster on Wednesday introduced a new service, Direct Access, that will allow customers to get hard to find or out-of-stock movies from Blockbuster's distribution centers if they can't find it in stores. The move lets stores check online for stock of all of the roughly 95,000 titles Blockbuster carries and will mail any movie available at Blockbuster directly to a viewer's house. In comparison, a local Blockbuster store has between 3,000 and 5,000 titles in stock.
NVIDIA has revealed that it plans to show its upcoming next-generation Tegra processor at CES early next month. Senior communications VP Michael Hara provided few details of what the chip would involve at a Barclays investor conference last week but said it would be powerful enough to find its way into many more devices than today and will be built on a smaller, cooler 40 nanometer process that should keep power use to a minimum.
Canadian provider WIND Mobile formally launched today and became the fourth major cell carrier in the country. The company pitches itself as the antithesis of typical cellphone carriers and promises none of the hidden costs of incumbents like Bell or Rogers, such as activation or service access fees. It also makes a point of offering phones and devices without contracts; while device prices are higher, it lets customers switch providers without an early termination fee.
JVC on Wednesday introduced a new iPod dock with built-in speakers that has a unique wraparound design and supports virtual Dolby surround sound. The XS-SR3 can hold iPods and iPhones either horizontally or vertically, depending on whether the user wants to listen to music or watch videos. Four clips are included to hold different models of iPods.
The Federal Trade Commission today sued Intel for alleged anti-competitive practices. The complaint accuses Intel of conducting a "systematic campaign" of blocking access to competing processors that primarily centered on a system of rewards and threats to computer manufacturers. Intel has regularly either given incentives or threatened a lack of support to Dell, HP and other companies if too many (or any) of their systems ran processors from challengers like AMD, the US agency claims.
Sonic has launched a pair of initiatives to expand CinemaNow past its current platform. Starting Thursday, the company will make available DivX versions (link not yet active) of movie downloads. The gesture will let any computer that recognizes protected DivX play the service's videos, such as third-party hardware like LG and Samsung devices, game consoles (most likely the PS3 and Xbox 360) and phones.
Belkin today added a Bluetooth Music Receiver to its lineup for short-range wireless streaming. The adapter takes audio from any Bluetooth device that supports the A2DP stereo format, including many cellphones (such as the iPhone) as well as portable media players that recognize the standard, such as the second- and third-generation iPod touch. Range is limited to the Bluetooth standard's 33 feet but should be enough for wireless music in the same room.
The European Commission on Wednesday greenlit Microsoft's updated proposal for a browser ballot within Windows 7. Now referred to as a "choice screen," the ballot will give EU users what the Commission says is as neutral a choice as possible for their browser. Those first booting a Windows PC will get a neutral window to pick their browser and will see the browsers presented in a random order that gives equal weight to Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.
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