Monday, November 5, 2007

Google Phone Announcement Today

Is it a phone, is it a software? Rumor mills have been running over-time, whipping up plausible answers to this million dollar question.

And today is supposedly d-day when Google will lift the shroud of secrecy enveloping its Google Phone project.

Google last cleared the air when it said that the Google Phone is not going to be a phone to compete with the likes of Apple Computer's iPhone; rather a software to rival Microsoft.

The latest story is that the Google Phone will be made by a carrier (s) who will bring to market a mobile device with the Google operating system (OS) on it. The Google Phone will likely be available by mid next year. And US-based Verizon Wireless is tipped to be the chosen carrier for launching the device powered by Google's OS.

Turns out, unlike Apple or Microsoft, Google's approach is to make an open platform for the handset, which can take to third party applications running on it. Meaning, handset makers will be first given the Google software, and subsequently, developers will design applications for the Google Phone.

While some sort of official announcement is expected today, Google's Director of Mobile Platforms, and one of Google Phone's primary architects, Andy Rubin, is said to be busy overseeing dozens of software engineers working 'at the Google Phone' at the company's sprawling Silicon Valley campus.

All said, in an age where cell phones are increasingly turning into mobile PCs, Google's software (standard) might just give it the kind of edge (in the smart phones market) which say a Microsoft enjoys courtesy its Windows OS.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nokia N81 and N81 8GB Shipping

Multimedia computers, Nokia N81 and Nokia N81 8GB are now available globally. The phones come with dedicated music and gaming keys, and more memory for more storing and playing.

Bringing a new user interface (UI) to the Nokia Nseries is the 3D Multimedia Menu introduced in these devices. The menu makes it easier to discover and enjoy digital content as well as the Internet, and share experiences with others. The N81 and the N81 8GB also offer millions of music tracks through the Nokia Music Store. With their integrated Nokia Music Players, creating play lists and managing music collections on the move is a breeze. Compatible, high quality headphones or speakers can be used along with the standard 3.5mm headphone connector for enhanced sound quality. Besides, the devices afford a preview of the N-Gage games service, which includes playable demos of EA Sports FIFA 07, Asphalt 3: Street Rules, and Space Impact Light. When N-Gage actually launches later this year, the full application will be available for download on these devices. The Nokia N81 is shipping for about 360 Euros/$512/Rs 20,300 before subsidies or taxes, while the Nokia N81 8GB is available for around 430 Euros/$612/Rs 24,300 before subsidies or taxes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hitachi announces first 4TB desktop drives .

Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the hard drive arm of the Japanese conglomerate, announced on Monday that they have developed the world's smallest read-head technology for hard disk drives (HDD), in a move that would strengthen its position in the drive market.
Called current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistive (CPP-GMR) heads, Hitachi's new technology is expected to quadruple current storage capacity limits to four terabytes (TB) on a desktop hard drive and one terabyte on a notebook hard drive.
Currently, the top-of-the-line desktop drives come with 1TB storage capacity, which can hold text of approximately 1 million books, 333,000 digital images, 250 hours of high-definition movies, and 1,000 hours of standard-definition video or 250,000 MP3 songs.
Headquartered in San Jose, California-Hitachi GST said its researchers have successfully reduced a key component in hard drives to a nanoscale that would allow the company to continue to increase the density of drives.
Researchers have shrunken the existing recording heads by more than a factor of two to achieve new heads in the 30-nanometer to 50-nanometer range, which is about 2,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair that ranges from 70 microns to 100 microns.
The two companies said they have co-developed high-output technology and noise-reduction technology for the CPP-GMR head. In order to increase the signal output from the head, they have used a high electron-spin-scattering magnetic film material in the CPP-GMR layer, and also developed a new technology for damage-free fine patterning and noise suppression.
Consequently, the signal-to-noise ratio, a significant factor in determining the performance of a head, was extremely perked up. Heads with track widths of 30 nm to 50 nm have the S/N ratios of 30 decibels (dB) and 40 dB, respectively.
“Hitachi continues to invest in deep research for the advancement of hard disk drives as we believe there is no other technology capable of providing the hard drive’s high-capacity, low-cost value for the foreseeable future,” said Hiroaki Odawara, Research Director, Storage Technology Research Center, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
“This is an achievement for consumers as much as it is for Hitachi. It allows Hitachi to fuel the growth of the ‘Terabyte Era’ of storage, which we started, and gives consumers virtually limitless ability for storing their digital content.”
Fifty nanometer track heads will hit the market in 2009, while 30 nm tracks are expected to hit in 2011. Hitachi was due to present the advance in developing next-generation recording heads for hard disk drives at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference on Monday (Oct.15) in Tokyo.
In January, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced the launch of industry's first terabyte (TB) hard drive for desktops, intended to deliver superior performance, reliability and capacity as well.
Demonstrated at 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 1-Tbyte Deskstar 7K1000 drive uses perpendicular magnetic recording technology to enhance storage capacity and has SATA 2.0Gbps and PATA-133 interfaces plus "ramp load" design to make the drive more power-efficient, Hitachi has said earlier.
With ultra-high storage capacity, the 3.5in, 7200 RPM Parallel-ATA/Serial-ATA hard drive boosts consumers’ ability to store video, photos, music and other valued data to new heights, the company said.
Multi-Terabyte drives from the world’s leading hard-disk drive maker Hitachi come at the time when the people around the world have been connecting digitally. Consumers have entered an era where they can capture everything on digital still or video, and can save those content to listen or share in future. For this purpose, they need ultra large capacity drives and 4TB drives meet such requirements.

Microsoft Enters Local Search Market With 'Live Search 411'

Microsoft thinks it has the 411 when it comes to challenging rivals Google and Yahoo in the lucrative market for local Internet searches and related services.

Completing the latest round in an ongoing revamp of its online services, the software maker on Tuesday unveiled Live Search 411 -- a combined voice and Web offering that allows users to locate local businesses or other points of interest through the telephone, PC, or mobile Web browser.

Phone users can call a toll-free number from any type of phone to find and get automatically connected to businesses within a given area code.

For PC or browser-enabled mobile users, an interactive feature overlays relevant information onto maps generated by local Web searches, including weather data and real-time traffic conditions that the service uses to create the best driving route to a destination.

"Microsoft is building on several years of innovation in imagery and 3-D visualization" to deliver the new services, said Satya Nadella, corporate VP of the Search & Advertising Platform Group at Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft developed Live Search 411 in partnership with Tellme Networks, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year for an estimated $800 million to $1 billion with an eye to stepping up its presence in the voice-enabled devices market.

Last month, Microsoft rolled out several enhancements to its core Live Search portal, including updates designed to improve results for queries related to entertainment, shopping and health care.
The efforts are all part of Microsoft's plan to increase revenues from online services such as search advertising. But the company has a long way to go.

According to market watcher comScore, Google held 56.5% of the search market as of August, Yahoo held second place with 23.3%, while Microsoft was a distant third with just 11.3% of all search traffic generated by businesses, home users and educational institutions.

Nokia Announces Global Shipment of N95 8 GB Multimedia Computer

Nokia has announced the worldwide shipment of the Nokia N95 8GB multimedia computer. The Nokia N95 8 GB is the memory-packed big brother of the Nokia N95 multimedia computer.

"Our Nokia Nseries family has expanded with added pizzazz and performance with the Nokia N95 8 GB, a device as personal as it is powerful," said Jonas Geust, vice president, Multimedia, at Nokia. "We've reached a pinnacle with the Nokia N95 and now with the addition of one of the largest ever displays, built-in Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) and improved battery power, the Nokia N95 8 GB takes entertainment enjoyment to another level."

Boasting up to 8 GB of built-in memory, the Nokia N95 8 GB has all the key features of its predecessor, including a 5 MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, built-in A-GPS, WLAN, HSDPA and a two-way slide. The sleek black N95 8 GB also features a luminous 2.8" (240 x 320 pixel) QVGA display, so watching videos, browsing the Internet or viewing maps is a pleasure. With its expanded memory, the N95 8 GB offers up to 20 hours of video or up to 6000 songs.

Nokia said entertaining oneself has taken on a whole new meaning with this multimedia computer, optimized for enjoying videos, playing games, or even locating favorite destinations with A-GPS.

The device's DVD-like quality video capture and control allows film fanatics to create their own movies and share their creations and favorite movies with others by using the easy 'transfer to PC functions', allowing uploads to their social networking profiles and other online sites.

The Nokia N95 8 GB supports services like Nokia Music Store and N-Gage Games. Users can access millions of music tracks from the Nokia Music Store or get a sneak-peak at N-Gage gaming, live later this year. Users can test out games like FIFA 2007 and Asphalt 3: Street Rules. Once N-Gage goes live, they will be able to try games for free before deciding on buying.

With A-GPS, Nokia N95 8 GB users can whiz to their locations on Nokia Maps faster and enjoy maps for over 150 countries.

Explore the world, find specific routes or locate services such as restaurants and hotels, covering more than 15 million points of interest. Users also have the option of buying additional features, such as city guides and voice guided navigation.

The N95 8 GB multimedia computer has an estimated retail price of EUR 560 before taxes or subsidies.To celebrate the launch of the N95 8 GB, Nokia has teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) to offer a Nokia N95 8 GB, which comes pre-loaded with the full-length Spider-Man 3 feature film in Europe and selected countries in Middle East and Africa region.

"The Nokia N95 8 GB opens up a wealth of exciting options for film fans as they can now watch world-class movies like Spider-Man 3 whenever they want, wherever they want. Pre-loading a film with such fantastic special effects truly shows off the device's advanced capabilities. With its ground-breaking features, users can now fully appreciate the meaning of entertainment on-the-go," said Ilkka Raiskinen, Senior Vice President, Multimedia Experiences, Nokia.

The movie comes in ten languages and subtitle combinations. The Nokia N95 8 GB also includes a unique Spider-Man 3 message and ring tone, wallpaper and screen saver, specially crafted for the new device. Spider-Man 3 games, ring tone and additional video clips will also be available via the Download! Catalog in selected countries/

Nokia said it selected Spider-Man 3 to show off the full capabilities of the device due to overwhelming demand from Nokia Nseries users. When asked which film Nokia Nseries users wanted to watch on their device, Spider-Man 3 was voted the 'most wanted movie'.