Sources are reporting today that Google is deep in talks to get music labels on board for a Google competitor to iTunes. The service would offer digital downloads, as well as a digital locker that users could stream music from. This is a feature Apple has yet to implement despite buying music streaming startup Lala several months ago.
The man behind Google's Android operating system, Andy Rubin, is supposedly leading the talks with music labels. Rubin is the driving force for getting the service up and running this year, say sources. The labels meanwhile, see this an opportunity to take some of the wind out of iTunes' sails.
Google will have a steep hill to climb if they can get Google Music off the ground. Amazon has thus far been able to capture only 12% of the US digital music market. Google's ace in the hole will be Android. If this streaming is integrated with Android handsets via a downloadable app, it could make the service very desirable.
A Florida man has filed suit against Google in response to the Nexus One's 3G signal issues. Nathan Nabors is seeking unspecified damages and class action status for the suit. Manufacturer HTC and original carrier T-Mobile are not listed in the filing. The allegation is that Google made misleading claims about the Nexus One's capabilities, then failed to adequately resolve issues when they cropped up.
Google started selling the Nexus One direct to consumers in early 2010. At the time, the phone had only T-Mobile US 3G bands. Consumers reported issues in getting, or holding on to, 3G frequencies in areas that other phones had no problem. After a software update, Google declared the problems fixed, saying that any further issues were on T-Mobile's end.
It's unclear if a judge will eventually grant class action status to the suit. If so, Nexus users might get a check for $10 in 2-3 years. The lawyers managing the case however, will probably do much better. If you have a Nexus One, let us know how your 3G is these days.
Maybe we should put out a tablet -- we could call it the MaxiPad -- because at this point, it seems like we're the only ones who have yet to announce an upcoming slate. All the cool kids are doing it, which now includes Hannspree.
Come November, Hannspree promises to launch a 10.1-inch multi-touch slate with a capacitive screen sporting a 1024x600 resolution. It will come armed with Nvidia's Tegra 2 SoC with a pair of ARM Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1GHz.
Like so many other upcoming tablets, this particularly one will run on Google's Android 2.2 platform with native Flash 10.1 support and a custom UI. Other features include 16GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, mini USB and mini HDMI ports, an accelerometer, and a 3,500mAh battery Hannspree claims will provide enough juice for up to 8 hours of 1080p playback.
Creative wants you to know that they've just launched the world's first truly 3D audio headsets, unlike those other 3D sets you may have read about, which apparently aren't the real deal. So how exactly can Creative make that claim?
"Creative gaming headsets are the only headsets in the world to deliver a true 3D immersive experience -- with sound coming from around you, above you, and from below. As games have evolved and 3D video has become the norm, Creative headsets with THX TruStudio Pro are the perfect complement, providing gamers with a completely immersive, mind-blowing 3D audio and video experience," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for audio and video at Creative.
THX purportedly had a hand in helping develop the new Sound Blaster 3D Tactic Alpha and 3D Sigma headsets, which use proprietary advanced algorithms to blast audio at your eardrums from above, below, and all around. From a hardware standpoint, the 3D Alpha comes with 40mm Neodymium drivers, a detachable noise-canceling mic, and a dual-mode USB 2.0 adapter that allows the headset to be used in analog mode.
The 3D Sigma boasts the same feature-set, except the drivers are 50mm and it comes with a steel core headband. These are also the first headsets to come with customizable profiles.
Look for the 3D Alpha and 3D Sigma to ship later this month for $60 and $90, respectively.
Commodore USA, the same company who recently announced plans to start shipping an Atom-powered replica of the original C64, claims to have just acquired the rights to the Amiga name and will also be launching a full line of new Amiga branded all-in-one keyboard computers.
"We are ecstatic to be partnering with Amiga Inc. in this new, exciting product launch," Barry Altman, President and CEO of Commodore USA, said in a statement. "The legacy of the Commodore and Amiga trademark brand, reunited once again after so many years, and our reintroduction of the legendary All-In-One computer keyboard form factor, combined with the twenty-five year anniversary of the introduction of the first Amiga computer by Commodore International, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Commodore USA has now taken a major role in not just supporting the future Amiga market with our many new products, but also in providing a new beginning for the enormous existing Amiga community."
Decidedly less excited about the announcement is Hyperion, the Belgium company behind the AmigaOS, who also holds rights to the Amiga brand.
"Our American lawyers will take action against this," Hyperion said in a forum post. "This is [a] blatant violation of the rights Hyperion Entertainment secured in the settlement agreement with Amiga Inc., Itec, and Amino."
Microsoft has announced today that the final version of Windows Phone 7 is complete, and has been released to manufacturing. According to Redmond, this new mobile operating system is the most extensively tested Microsoft has ever produced. The engineering team has thousands of devices running automated tests in-house, as well as preview units out in the wild.
In their blog post, the Phone 7 team discussed the process of integrating user feedback into the final product. For example, many reviewers and early testers complained that the Facebook integration just dropped your entire friends list into phone contacts. The development team took the hint and added filtering to the contact integration.
Now that the software is finalized, manufacturers can complete work on their retail devices. Get ready for an avalanche of leaked Windows Phone 7 handsets. Anyone looking forward to picking up one of these phones?
Antec, perhaps best known for its power supplies, is branching out into new territory (audio) with the introduction of its Soundscience Rockus system. Developed under Antec's new wholly-owned Soundsciene subsidiary, the Rockus is a 3D 2.1 loudspeaker system that will be shown off at this year's IFA trade show.
"People might be surprised to find out how many audio fanatics are part of the Antec team; we have a passion for great sound and wanted to launch our soundscience brand with a truly unique product." says Scott Richards, senior vice president of Antec. "The rockus speaker system delivers the expansive, enveloping audio experience of a traditional home theater system, yet it fits in any room. There’s no need for complicated whole-room setups or messy, difficult cabling. Plus, with analog and optical connectivity, it’s easy to get 3D sound from your computer, tablet, game console, MP3 player or any audio gear."
If you like the Chumby, you’ll dig Best Buy’s take on the Internet appliance. The Infocast runs the Chumby operating system, but it has a much larger touch screen, a faster CPU, a memory card reader, and 2GB of internal memory.
AMD’s Radeon HD 5000-series cards are already considerably more power efficient than anything in Nvidia’s Fermi lineup, but PowerColor’s Go Green series of cards are engineered to consume even less electrical power than reference design-cards. This passively cooled Radeon HD 5750 (PowerColor part number AX5750 1GBD5-NS3DH, to be precise) draws all the power it needs from the PCI Express bus, so it doesn’t require a dedicated six-pin power cable. No fan means no noise.
The decision to refresh its line of Reader devices was probably an easy one for Sony. After all, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble recently stacked the decks in their favor by launching new, lower cost eBook readers, so sitting on the sidelines just wasn't an option, or at least not a very good one.
Sony gave its entire three-member Reader family a makeover, which includes the Pocket, Touch, and Daily editions. Each one has been retooled with an improved optical touchscreen, peppier page turns, and higher-contrast E-Ink Pearl displays, the same that is used in the new Kindle and Kindle DX.
Model numbers have changed, and so has some of the pricing. The Pocket Edition jumps from PRS-300 to PRS-350 and sells for $180, while the Touch Edition goes from PRS-600 to PRS-650 and comes priced at $230. Both are available now. The larger Daily Edition will ship sometime this fall for around $300.