The RIAA was pretty upset to learn that the unreleased U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" had been leaked onto Bit Torrent last week, so much so that rumors surfaced saying the RIAA was on the hunt for for anyone who may have downloaded the album via Last.fm's Scrobbler service, according to news site TechCrunch. Worse yet, the weblog said a tipster informed them that "Last.fm recently provided the RIAA with a giant dump of user data to track down people are scrobbling unreleased tracks." And what did Last.fm have to say on the matter?
"On Friday night a technology blog called TechCrunch posted a vicious and completely false rumor about us: that Last.fm handed data to the RIAA so they could track who’s been listening to the “leaked” U2 album," Last.fm wrote in a blog. "I denied it vehemently on the Techcrunch article, as did several other Last.fm staffers. We denied it in the Last.fm forums, on twitter, via email – basically we denied it to anyone that would listen, and now we’re denying it on our blog."
The blog entry, which is titled "Techcrunch are full of s**t," goes on to say Last.fm takes "very seriously" being entrusted to users' listening data and that it will "never share personally identifiable data such as email and IP addresses." The blog also pointed out that all the press coverage has caused a spike in the number of people listening to U2 recently, so its record label should actually be patting itself on the back for a successful launch.
In any event, Last.fm users can officially exhale, your private data remains safely tucked away on a server in London.
Microsoft Internet Explorer is steadily losing ground to other browsers, though there is no immediate threat to its crown. However, Microsoft would be hoping to stymie the slide with Internet Explorer 8.
All eyes are now set on the release of the finished product after a public RC (release candidate) was released on January 26th, 2009.
IE8 comes with the promise of greater performance and reliability. Some of its key features include visual search suggestions, private browsing, accelerators, web slices and monetization opportunities (for OEMs).
With the recent release of Nvidia's GTX 285 (single GPU) and 295 (dual-GPU) videocards, ATI's performance crown has been under siege. But according to chatter around the web, the GPU maker is set to respond with a new videocard in a couple of months.
Specifically, VR-Zone claims to have confirmed ATI will release its HD 4890 in April. The new card is expected to use the RV790 core and would appear to put to rest an earlier rumor stating ATI plans to name its new card the HD 4970. As currently spec'd, the HD 4890 will come clocked at 850MHz with GDDR5 running at 975MHz. The current RV770-based HD 4870 runs at 750MHz (core) and 900MHz (memory).
VR-Zone also says there will be two versions of the new card, a standard and OC edition. The standard edition is expected to launch in mid-April, with the OC card reaching retail by the end of April. if the rumor pans out, expect the OC edition to cost $299 at launch.
Either news and rumor site The Inquirer is seriously stirring the pot between Intel and Nvidia, or the two companies are looking to move in on each other's territory. It first started last week when The Inqposted a report claiming Intel will design the PlayStation 4 GPU, not Nvidia, and further stating there's a good chance Microsoft's Xbox3 console will sport ATI hardware.
Now the rumor site says Nvidia is trying to make an x86 chip and has put the word out to engineers.
"Word reached us a bit ago that Nvidia is definitely working on a x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley," The Inquirer wrote.
But there's a problem with the rumor, other than it being unconfirmed speculation at this point. If Nvidia seriously is considering putting out a x86 CPU, it would have to climb a legal mountain before doing so. Given how long it took Nvidia and Intel to come to licensing terms to combine SLI technology with Intel-based chipsets, it seems unlikely the two would come to another licensing agreement, this time involving x86 technology.
The other route Nvidia could take is to form an alliance with a company already possessing a x86 license, but assuming Nvidia could pull it off, and assuming Nvidia is interested in x86 chip design in the first place, the move would still likely end up in a lengthy court battle.
Thoughts on Nvidia developing a x86 CPU? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Despite ongoing rumors to the contrary, Microsoft has continually denied it has plans to release a smartphone. But that's not true, according to analysts Rob Sanderson and Mark McKechnie at Broadpoint AmTech.
"MSFT Smart-Phone Launch? Multiple industry sources are telling us that MSFT is planning to launch a smartphone," AmTech wrote in a memo. "We are told it will be a 2H launch."
AmTech goes on to describe Microsoft's strategy as "a bit puzzling," pointing out that a Microsoft-branded smartphone may alienate existing Windows Mobile customers who would be forced to compete with the software giant in hardware. Nevertheless, AmTech claims an official announcement could be forthcoming at 3GSM in Barcelona on February 16th, or at another analyst event in New York on February 24th.
So what's our take? We'll see a Microsoft smartphone about the same time as the company releases a Blu-ray capable Xbox 360 console.
Speculation around the chip suggests that it will be Intel’s Nehalem EP processor, a chip designed for dual-socket workstations and servers. The EP, which is scheduled for a release in early 2009, will use Intel’s Quick Path Interconnect, removing all need for a front-side bus and letting more data flow between the processor and the system. It will also feature an integrated memory controller.
Intel has come out about the rumor, stating that although they are presenting 16 papers at the Solid-State Circuits Conference, there is nothing more to share regarding a new Xeon processor. Should the chip be revealed, it will be Intel’s first eight-core processor.
Oft rumored but not yet confirmed, New York Times blogger Brad Stone says Amazon will introduce the Kindle 2 eBook reader in New York City on February 9th. Reaching that conclusion took a little bit of detective work on the part of Stone, who noticed Amazon changed the ship date for its out-of-stock Kindle from 11 to 13 weeks down to 4 to 6 weeks. This would coincide with a news conference Amazon has planned for February 9th at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.
"The device has been out of stock since November, after Oprah Winfrey touted it on her show," Stone writes. "The announcement seems to confirm our suspicions that the original Kindle has been obsolete since that time and that everyone who purchased the device over the holidays from Amazon.com — or put their name on a waiting list — will receive the newer version."
Back in October 2008, BoyGeniusReport.com posted what it claims were leaked photos of the upcoming Kindle. Among the changes shown were smaller buttons to help avoid inadvertent page turns, and a joystick instead of a scroll wheel. The photos also revealed a miniUSB cable port.
Following Intel's P55 chipset, which is expected to launch sometime late this summer, Intel will release four more mainstream chipsets in the first quarter of 2010. These include the H57, P57, Q57, and H55.
DigiTimes says the higher end H57, P57, and Q57 chipsets will boast support for a revamped version of Intel's Turbo Memory technology currently codenamed Braidwood. This will help with boot times by moving frequently accessed data away from the hard drive and over to Flash memory. The memory chips will also sport a dedicated NVRAM controller for SSD-like read and write speeds, Fudzilla says.
All chipsets will support up to 14 USB 2.0 ports (save for the H55, which checks in with 12), up to 6 SATA ports, and up to 8 PCI-E x1 ports (H55 again being the exception with 6 PCI-E x1 ports).
If Mobile Today is to believed, all those rumors about the PSP phone were indeed true. According to a report, which cites anonymous sources, Sony disallowed Sony Ericsson’s request to use the Playstation brand in December.
Sources have revealed that Sony told the mobile phone manufacturer that the only way the Playstation brand can appear on a cellphone is when it independently makes such a device.
It is claimed that Sony is reluctant to license the Playstation brand for a product that doesn’t conform to the lofty technological standards the brand is associated with.
Even behemoths like Microsoft are not immune to the financial crisis. The Redmond-based company might be quite close to large job cuts, according to the WSJ. The much feared announcement could be made as early as next week.
Many analysts have prognosticated a 10 percent to 17 percent reduction in Microsoft’s workforce in the imminent future. Microsoft is due to announce its fourth-quarter results today. PC sales in the last quarter were dismal and are expected to have an impact on Microsoft’s earnings.