breaking news

All posts tagged breaking news

By   posted Sep 28th 2011 9:42AM

Okay, so it wasn’t much of a surprise, but Amazon finally has a tablet, and as expected its name picks up where the Kindle left off: Fire. Of course, rumors of an Amazon tablet date back to this time last year (if not before), but it seems that Jeff and co. have wisely chosen to get this thing out on the open market before having yet another wild and wacky holiday quarter. Bloomberg has curiously reported on some of the details before the event itself kicks off, noting that the 7-inch device will run a version of Android while acting much like a “souped-up Kindle.” The real kicker, however, is the price — at just $199, it’s bound to turn heads, regardless of whether you were interested in a slate before. Naturally, that bargain-bin sticker explains the lack of an embedded camera and microphone, though consumers will find WiFi (no 3G, sadly) and a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. It’s also quite clear that Amazon’s hoping to make a bigger splash on the content side of things than has been made already by Apple, and with the deals flowing like wine, we wouldn’t be shocked if it does just that.

Keep up with the unveiling at our liveblog of the Amazon event.

By   posted Sep 23rd 2011 1:09PM
 Amazon’s been cooking something in a supposed Android-based oven for quite some rumored time. Now, an invite has gone out from the Bezos-backed company for an event on the 28th of this month at 10AM. Will the e-retailer officially announce a pair of 7- and 10-inch Kindle refreshes we’ve seen so much digital ink spilled over, or is this the heavily-skinned Android tab that TechCrunch got its hands-on earlier this month? We’ll be there to let you know what the company’s got up its e-reading sleeve.

By   posted Sep 14th 2011 1:03PM

Guess what, Wintel loyalists? “Apple’s” Thunderbolt I/O port is coming your way. If you’ll recall, Thunderbolt was actually built with Intel’s collaboration (Light Peak, anyone?), and sensibly, the chip giant is now making it possible for the port to appear on non-Mac machines. The news was just broken here at IDF, where a Haswell-based machine was briefly teased with a heretofore unpossible T-bolt port. Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, was on-stage to showcase six pre-production Ultrabook designs (all based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors), but stopped short of telling us exactly when the Thunderbolt I/O port would make its debut on commercially available rigs. Naturally, we’re hoping it’s sooner (tomorrow) rather than later (the 2013 launch of Haswell).

 

By   posted Sep 9th 2011 10:21AM
Here’s the word straight from Bloomberg‘s unnamed sources: Sprint’s not only getting the elusive iPhone 5 — it’s keeping an unlimited data plan around just to sway buyers who may otherwise spring for the AT&T / Verizon Wireless variants. Furthermore, these folks in-the-know have good reason to believe that it’ll be launched “next month,” which gives Apple a shockingly small amount of time to invite us over for a west coast reveal. As it stands, the only folks who’ll get limitless data with an iPhone 5 on its existing US carriers are those with grandfathered plans; any new customers on Ma Bell or Big Red will be forced to select one of many tiered options. Not surprisingly, neither Sprint nor Apple are commenting on the story, but if it all proves true, Sprint can definitely hang its hat on having one serious competitive advantage.

[Thanks, Prhime]

By Tim Stevens posted Jun 16th 2011 12:30PM

We’ve been waiting for confirmation on yesterday’s rumor, about Microsoft’s motion-sensing Xbox 360 peripheral coming to PCs, and now we have it. MS has just now released a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that will allow .Net developers to write Kinecting apps in C++, C#, or VB. We spoke with some developer representatives from the company to get the full details, including just what you can and can’t do with this big bundle of libraries. Follow us after the break for all the info.

At this point the SDK is effectively a straight-port of the same libs that are currently available to Xbox 360 developers. Built on XNA, the Kinect library is standalone, so you won’t necessarily need to rely on DirectX being present. The SDK gives full access to everything the peripheral has to offer, including both cameras (VGA and depth-sensing) and the full microphone array. The former can identify up to six individuals or track the full skeletons for two, while the latter can handle advanced echo-cancellation and even sound triangulation.

To get the full skeleton tracking you’re going to need the same sort of setup as on the Xbox 360 — namely a largeish space in front of your computer for you to stand in and plenty of light. But, developers will be able to extract raw data from both cameras should they like, so in theory someone should be able to write an app that works with a Kinect sitting on your desk and looks for simple gestures from you, even if you’re seated in a chair. That’s our ideal scenario: hand-waving recognition in productivity apps to bridge the gap between mousing and multitouching.

To that end, Microsoft isn’t confirming any plans to integrate Kinect compatibility with any of its major apps (alas, no jazz-hand formula creation in Excel), but the company’s own coders are said to have their “juices flowing” thinking of ways to integrate the tech. Hopefully those creative fluids ooze their way right into the heart of Windows 8.

By Vlad Savov posted Jun 14th 2011 3:55AM
Not that it’ll do you much good in the US — an unlocked iPhone 4 will still only work on AT&T’s 3G bands — but Apple has just started selling its prized smartphone without any carrier partiality on its US online store. The big attraction is, of course, being able to take the phone abroad and switch MicroSIMs to your heart’s content, an experience that most other nations are already well accustomed to. Additionally, though the $649 (16GB) and $749 (32GB) levies may seem rather steep for American buyers, they’re quite a bit more affordable than the unlocked pricing elsewhere. You can have yours within three business days if black’s your color, or three to five if you’re after the snow white one.

By Vlad Savov posted May 26th 2011 8:11AM

There’s a pretty widespread outage of Skype going on right this minute, judging by the explosion of tweets relating to it. It’s not universal, as we’ve been able to log in and use the internet communicator for both text and video chat, but something’s definitely gone wrong. So far, we’ve noticed our OS X machines are ticking along just fine, but our Windows computers are not. Importantly, we had to upgrade one of our Windows desktops to “break” Skype, which indicates it could be a fault contained in the latest version, but then again, it could have simply been just a case of terrible timing. The iPhone and Android apps look to be unaffected, but skype.com is down and out. Skype is on the case right now and will have more details for us “soon.”

[Thanks, Manthan]

Update: Skype has a solution for bringing tech savvy users back online. It requires deleting the shared.xml file, instructions for which are available for Windows 7, XP and Mac OS X (so yes, Apple computers have been bitten by the same bug too). A simpler fix is said to be in the works as well.

Update 2: Looks like Skype is back to normal now. Phew!

By Richard Lawler posted May 2nd 2011 7:01AM

Dish Network, EchoStar and TiVo have come to a settlement on their long running patent dispute (since2006) that will see the satellite company pay $500 million to settle all ongoing litigation. We stopped covering the various court judgements in this case last year as each side continued to file one stay and injunction after another, but this time it’s finally over. The most recent court judgement came April 20th in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and found EchoStar in contempt of an earlier injunction despite modifications to its DVR software. The companies have licensed certain patents to each other, including the infamous Time Warp patent that was at the heart of the dispute. Details are in the press release after the break, but TiVo’s scored an upfront $300 million cash payment (Dish Network is also reporting today it added 58,000 subscribers and had a net income of $549 million last quarter, we guess there was some loose change rolling around after its Blockbuster and DBSD purchases), with the remaining $200 million to be paid out between 2012 and 2017.

Now that the lawyers are out of the picture we wonder if we’ll see any TiVo technology on Dish boxes or if a few hundred million in cash is enough to speed up the pace of updates for the Premiere. Interestingly, the press release noted Dish “work with TiVo to help develop our Blockbuster video service” so perhaps the ties between the rental company and TiVo played a part in seeing this dispute come to an end. TiVo’s conference call mentioned the marketing agreement to promot Blockbuster’s digital service and also how this settlement demonstrates the strength of its patent to other companies it’s in litigation with — that means you Microsoft, AT&T and Verizon.

 

By Vlad Savov posted Apr 20th 2011 9:29AM

We love books. We just don’t love carrying more than one of them around. It’s great to hear, then, that Amazon has figured out a new Kindle Library Lending feature, which will allow US customers to check the ethereal form of books into their Kindle (all generations are supported) or Kindle app-equipped smartphone or computer. Annotations will be retained, in case you decide to take the book out a second time or purchase it through Amazon, in which case they’ll come flooding back in like fond memories of a good read. The service matches Sony’s similar ebook library checkout offering, which is no coincidence as it’s powered by the same company, OverDrive. It’s set to launch later this year and you can read more about it in the press release after the break.