Beleaguered Japanese electronics giant Sony is mulling drastic changes to its corporate structure, according to the Times of London. It is on the verge of shutting down many of its Japanese factories and important divisions. The world is gradually becoming inured to hearing about job cuts – if not job cuts themselves - as the global economy sinks deeper into an apparently abysmal financial quagmire. And it is very likely that the next major news of job cuts will come from Sony; it had announced last month that it was going to hand pink slips to 16,000 employees.
Sources within Sony told the Times of London that Sony’s Japanese operations will bear the brunt of the radical changes. The changes might take effect after the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in the profligate city of Las Vegas. But analysts, especially who have been calling for an overhaul for a long time now, fear that the changes might just be too late in the day.
They want Sony’s boss Howard Stringer to enjoy greater power, if the company is to extricate itself from its old ways. The road ahead is pocked with impediments for the company as it will also have to outmaneuver the global financial crisis.
iTunes has expanded its library of DRM-free music with the addition of 8 million songs devoid of any copyright protection. The move that was announced today at Macworld comes after Apple reached an understanding with the three largest music labels, Sony BMG, Warner Music, and Universal. It already has a similar agreement with EMI and has been providing music belonging to that label sans any DRM for around a year.
Apple is also going to allow people the luxury of ridding their iTunes music library of its copyright protection. But for that users will have to shelve out an extra 30 cents for every song they want to convert. Another 2 million DRM-free tracks are going to become available on iTunes in April.
One-Terabyte drives are no longer unusual, but until now, drive vendors have needed three or more platters to hit the magic 1TB goal. Not any more.
Seagate is now shipping the first 1TB hard disk to get the job done with just two platters: the Barracuda 7200.12. It jams 320 Gigabits of storage per square inch into each platter to achieve its 500GB per platter capacity. It uses a 3Gbps SATA interface and a 32MB cache to move your data around.
The drive is also available in 750GB (32MB cache) and 500GB (16MB cache) capacities. No word on official pricing yet on the 1TB big guy, but some websites are showing the 500GB model selling for about the same price as its predecessor, the Barracuda 7200.11 (32MB cache).
What do you think about getting the same capacity with fewer platters? Join us after the jump and sound off.
After a two-month brush with death (which may or may not have involved dueling a Balrog), Tribes 2 once again walks among us. However, the jetpack-heavy multiplayer shooter has cast aside its old, Sierra-shuttered servers in favor of a new robo-brain provided by an enigmatic group known as “TribesNext”.
Fortunately, TribesNext’s rule is a benevolent one, and Tribes 2 remains completely free – as it has been since 2004.
Whether you’re a death-frisbee spewing Tribes vet or simply think Left 4 Dead should fling you six feet into the air instead of six feet under, Tribes 2 is definitely a great game. Give the TribesNext beta a download here.
We've already spent some hands-on time with the G13 gamepad announced last month, but now Logitech has finally unveiled its full CES peripheral lineup with the rest of the new G-series family members. The popular G15 gaming keyboard has been completely revamped in a new G19 model, not only boasting more macro keys (the count is now up to 12 physical keys with 3 modes each) and customization options, but also a full color 320x240 GamePanel LCD display. Logitech also announced a brand new USB gaming headset, the G35. Dolby 7.1 surround-sound technology, noise-cancelling mic, convenient button locations, and voice-morphing software make this the first Logitech headset that we’re actually excited about. The $200 keyboard and $130 headset will be available in March, but we have some hands-on impressions and photos for you right now!
In this tough economy just about everyone is feeling the strain. Car companies, internet business and the computer manufacturing industry have all felt pressure from the dwindling U.S. dollar, and because of this it’s expected that CES won’t be the monument that it has been in previous years.
CES 2009 is reporting that only 130,000 people will be attending this year’s show, down from the 141,000 that attended last year. The exhibitors aren’t showing up with the same force either, down from last year’s 3,000 to 2,700. Supposedly, there’s still plenty of room left at some of Vegas’ more convenient hotels, something that was blasphemy in past years.
It’s expected that this year’s show will mostly contain green gadgets, aimed at a frugal crowd. Items such as netbooks and OLED displays are expected to dominate just about every booth.
While most people are enticed with the blinking lights that most wireless routers provide, D-Link is looking to up the ante on even the most advanced getups (watch your back, Belkin) with their latest announcement; the Xtreme N DIR-685, featuring a 3.2-inch LCD.
D-Link’s router isn’t all Jenna Maroney, either. It’s got a lot of Liz Lemon, featuring the abilities to share a printer (or any other USB devices) and add a 2.5-inch hard drive for sharing files or BitTorrenting.
There’s still no word yet on pricing or availability.
Have you spent countless hours shedding blood, sweat, and tears into your Kick Ass mod? Does your mod have your friends and family drenching you in compliments? If so, have your rig shine alongside the elite crew of modders by submitting your rig to MaximumPC’s Rig of the Month contest! Every month, one talented modder and his rig will be featured in the magazine before the entire world to see, as well as rewarded with a $250 gift certificate! We know you’re interested, so read on for contest rules and details.
As if we weren't already enamored with Lenovo's monstrous W700 Thinkpad, which earned a 9-verdict/Kickass award thanks in large part to a combination of high end hardware and a high color gamut screen, Lenovo's new dual-screen W700ds has us doing a double take.
All the innards remain the same, but this time around Lenovo adds a secondary 10.6-inch display to the exterior. That's larger than some netbooks! The 400-nit, 72 percent wide color gamut WUXGA display slides neatly out from the PC cover behind the primary display giving mobile power users the same dual-screen goodness as a multi-monitor desktop, albeit in a smaller package. The secondary display can be tilted up to 30 degrees and only adds a few millimeters in additional thickness to the Thinkpad, GottaBeMobile says.
"The ThinkPad W700ds dual screen mobile workstation challenged our international development team to engineer a notebook to fit the way workstation users work - in the office and on the road,” said Mark Cohen, vice president, Notebook Business Unit, Lenovo. “Bringing this level of innovation to the most extreme PC users required continually balancing size and functionality with keeping the PC cool and quiet."
The W700ds is available now direct from Lenovo with pricing starting at $3,663 (currently on sale starting at $3,070).
Let's hope there's no insidious plot to take over the world brewing behind the scenes of Netflix, because if there is, we're all screwed. Netflix's streaming service is already being streamed to everything from Tivo boxes to the Xbox 360 console, and starting this spring, LG will integrate Netflix streaming capability into some of its plasma and LCD HDTVs.
The move has the potential to significantly boost Netflix's subscriber base, as consumers in the market for a new television would no longer need to add a separate set-top box, be it a Roku player or one of the compatible Blu-ray players, to take advantage of the more than 12,000 streaming movies and TV shows. It also puts the pressure on the competition to catch up if they have any hopes of contending in the living room.
No word yet on price or availability, though we imagine more information will be made available this week at CES.