Apple unveils iPhone 4. To be released June 24th.

iPhone 4. This changes everything. All over again.

The iPhone was unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2010 amid much fanfare. What does the iPhone 4 have that the other iPhones didn’t? First of all, its much thinner than any other iPhone. Apple’s calling it the thinnest smartphone on earth. Then there’s the new retina display which Steve Jobs showed off as the best display a phone has ever had. The front camera for video talk, a 5 megapixel camera on the behind which is capable of recording HD videos at 720p and the gyroscope, which I would call a better accelerometer.

Is the iPhone really going to change everything all over again or is it going to struggle to keep up with all the android phones that are coming out day after day? More than revolutionary will it just be evolutionary? We’ll have to wait and find out.


AT&T announces availability of BlackBerry Curve this summer

AT&T Inc. announced Monday the summer availability of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 smartphone.

AT&T consumer, small business and enterprise customers will enjoy new features and enhanced performance, including both Wi-Fi and GPS (global positioning system), a next generation processor, rich multimedia capabilities and memory for applications offered from AT&T.

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Apple announces the iPhone 3G

Apple officially announced the 3G iPhone on Monday at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote. The iphone is 3G capable which is 2.8 times faster than EDGE.

In the 2G iPhone users cannot browse the internet when they make a call but in the 3G version users can browse the internet and make a call at the same time. The 3G version would have built in GPS. It has a better battery life – 300 hours of standby, Talk-time 10 hours (as opposed to 5) on 2G networks, 5 hours of 3G talk-time (competition is 3 hour 3G talk time), 5 to 6 hours of high-speed browsing, 7 hours of video, 24 hours of audio.

The iPhone 3G will be available on July 11th in 22 countries for $199 for 8 GB and $299 for 16 GB. The 16 GB model also comes in white.


Yahoo Lets Microsoft’s Deadline Pass Without Acting

Yahoo let Microsoft’s deadline for a response to its $40 billion-plus offer for the Sunnyvale Internet company pass without a word on Saturday, putting the ball back in Microsoft’s court.
Now, the stage is set for what could be a dramatic week.

Most analysts expect Microsoft to take its offer directly to shareholders at Yahoo’s annual meeting by proposing its own slate of directors for Yahoo’s board and letting stock owners decide then whether they want to accept Microsoft’s offer.

But there are other possibilities: Microsoft could withdraw its offer, at least for the time being, figuring it could always come back at Yahoo later. Or it could extend the deadline hoping to still hammer out a deal. And finally, Yahoo could announce it has a deal with another partner.

“We’ll see what next week brings,” Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Christopher Lidell said Friday.

If there’s no move from Yahoo, Lidell said, the company can either go directly to Yahoo shareholders or “walk away.”

The passing of the deadline prolongs a standoff that began Feb. 1 with Microsoft’s offer of $44.6 billion, or $31 a share, and Yahoo insisting it was worth far more. But the value of the half-cash, half-stock deal has actually fallen since it was first announced, as shares of both companies have declined. Yahoo shares closed Friday at $26.80; Microsoft’s at $29.83, down from $30.50 the day the deal was announced.

Yahoo has been scrambling without much success to find alternatives to a Microsoft deal, after postponing its annual meeting to give itself more time to weigh its options.

It has not set a date for the annual meeting and has until mid-July to hold one under the law in Delaware, where the company is incorporated. The deadline for nominating outside directors is now an unspecified date sometime later this year but before the meeting.
At this point, the issue is largely price. Yahoo is holding out for considerably more, and Microsoft has been holding firm at $31 a share.

Industry observers expect a deal to be struck, possibly for as much as $34 a share, but it’s possible that the issue won’t be resolved until the summer and Yahoo’s annual meeting.

Bernstein Research analyst Jeffrey Lindsay predicted in a note Friday that the acquisition would be over before the end of July at a “slightly improved price.”

“It will be a good, old-fashioned proxy fight,” Lindsay said in an interview, using the term for a battle for control of a corporate board. “At any time up to then, Yahoo can throw in the towel and negotiate.”

Microsoft has been growing impatient. The company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, complained in a letter to Yahoo’s board April 5 that despite “some limited interaction” between the companies, “there has been no meaningful negotiation to conclude an agreement.”

And Lidell said Thursday that Yahoo appeared to have “unrealistic expectations of value.”

As the next step, Microsoft would file to nominate its slate of directors. Yahoo will accept nominations up to 10 days after it announces its next annual meeting.

Yahoo spent weeks after Microsoft’s offer trying to come up with alternatives to the deal with Microsoft. Though its board and top executives explored possible deals with Google, America Online and Time Warner and News Corp., little concrete came of it. Yahoo did announce a test in which Google would handle Yahoo’s search advertising on a limited basis, but otherwise no other options have panned out.

Meanwhile, many Yahoo shareholders favored a sale at $31 or more.

Each company has been showing signs of age as the newer, nimbler Google dominates the lucrative business for Internet search advertising and begins to move into the area where Yahoo is strong: Internet display ads.

After years in denial, insiders say, Microsoft realized it had to catch up with Google before Google became the next Microsoft — so entrenched that no competitor could dislodge it.

The Internet advertising market “is increasingly dominated by one player,” Ballmer observed when he announced the offer for Yahoo on Feb. 1.

Both companies have been overtaken by Google, which had a better way of reaping revenue from ads placed on its search results pages. It rapidly outstripped Yahoo in online search advertising.

Yahoo has slumped badly in the past couple years. The day before Microsoft announced its offer, Yahoo closed at $19.18 a share — half what it sold for two years earlier.

Microsoft has projected $1 billion in cost savings from combining the companies’ two Internet operations. Analyst Sandeep Aggarwal of Collins Stewart in San Francisco, assigning a 90 percent probability that Microsoft will acquire Yahoo, said he thinks Microsoft will absorb “a large portion” of Yahoo’s employees.

In any case, such a deal would remove a storied corporate headquarters from Silicon Valley and end an entrepreneurial saga that began in 1994 when two Stanford University graduate students created the search and Web directory technology that made Yahoo an Internet giant.

The students, Jerry Yang and David Filo, soon were attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. They incorporated the following year and began charging for advertising on Yahoo’s Web site.


Microsoft Surface in AT&T stores

AT&T became the first retail store to showcase and utilize the Microsoft Surface.

The Microsoft Surface is a hardware and software combination technology that allows a user or multiple users to manipulate digital content by use of hand gestures, natural motions or physical objects.
AT&T is using the Surface in five locations in four different cities which are Atlanta, San Antonio, San Francisco and New York. A total of 22 devices have been sent to AT&T’s stores.
Customers are allowed to place devices on the surface which in turn will read the devices such as a cell phone and give the customers information about the device.
If there is a good response AT&T might start using the Surface for purchasing ringtones, graphics, video content and the like using the Surfaces’s multi-touch gestures. Customers can also view interactive coverage maps and use touch and hand movements to determine the
coverage areas for their wireless service.
The stores with the Surface have got many customers compared to before, most of them who just came to get a hands-on on the device.

Adobe launches free Web version of Photoshop

The maker of the popular photo-editing software Photoshop on Thursday launched a basic version available for free online.

San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems Inc. says it hopes to boost its name recognition among a new generation of consumers who edit, store and share photos online.

While Photoshop is designed for trained professionals, Adobe says Photoshop Express, which it launched in a “beta” test version, is easier to learn. User comments will be taken into account for future upgrades.

Photoshop Express will be completely Web-based so consumers can use it with any type of computer, operating system and browser. And, once they register, users can get to their accounts from different computers.

Web-based software is increasingly popular, and Adobe knows it’s got to get on that train, said Kathleen Maher, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research.

Many kinds of software are available for use online in a trend known as “software as a service,” or “cloud computing.” The earliest were e-mail programs, but they now include services to create and manage content and even whole operating systems. And they don’t require time-consuming upgrades because they’re maintained by the service provider.

Google Inc. provides a host of such services, as do Microsoft Corp. and others.

“This is the battlefield where Adobe and Microsoft and Google are going to fight some pretty big battles,” Maher said.

Photoshop enters the online photo-management arena many years after such services first appeared. Some companies have already made a big name for themselves, like 9-year-old storage solution Shutterfly Inc., photo-editing service Picnik or image-sharing site Photobucket Inc.

Adobe says providing Photoshop Express for free is part marketing and part a strategy to create up-sell opportunities. It hopes some customers will move from it to boxed software like its $99 Photoshop Elements or to a subscription-based version of Express that’s in the works.

Ron Glaz, a research analyst at IDC, says the move was necessary for Adobe to keep pace. Users are less likely to switch to a software they aren’t familiar with, he said.

“They have a whole market that they are missing out on, and they need to make sure that the market is aware there is a Photoshop solution for them. As that market grows and becomes more sophisticated, hopefully it will generate money,” Glaz said.

“It’s one of those things, if you can’t beat them, join them,” Glaz said. “If they don’t join them, the long run could be really painful.”


NASA Budget Cuts Will Deactivate Mars Rover


Following a $4 million NASA budget cut, one of the twin Mars rovers will be deactivated while the other limited in its activities, mission team members announced Monday.

The budget cut was announced in a letter delivered Wednesday to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, which manages the rovers. JPL plans to appeal the cut.

It costs NASA about $20 million a year to keep the rovers going, and both are now in their fourth year of exploration.  The crafts were initially planned for three-month missions at a cost of $820 million.

The report comes on the heels of budget cutbacks at NASA headquarters, which is struggling to manage both the Mars exploration and projects to study the rest of the solar system.

The twin, solar-powered rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have impressed scientists and the public alike, with discoveries of geologic evidence that water once flowed at or near the surface of Mars.

Steve Squyres, principal investigator from Cornell University, told the Associated Press that last week’s NASA directive to cut $4 million means Spirit will be put to sleep in the coming weeks.

“It’s very demoralizing for the team,” Squyres added.

Prior to the budget cuts, Spirit was due to gather atmospheric measurements as it sat on sunny slope during the Martian winter.   But now, it will stay in hibernation mode for most of the winter and halt all gathering of measurements.

The cut comes amid an extensive exploration campaign by the robots, according to deputy principal investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis.

“We’re not done. There is still a lot to explore,” Arvidson told the Associated Press.

Besides deactivating Spirit, scientists will likely also have to reduce Opportunity’s exploration, which is currently probing a large crater near Mars’ equator.  Instead of sending up daily commands to Opportunity to drive or explore a rock, its activities may be limited to every other day, said John Callas, JPL’s Mars Exploration Rover project manager.

“These rovers are still viable, capable vehicles in very good health,” Callas told the Associated Press.  “Any cut at any time when these rovers are healthy would be bad timing,”

On the Net:

Mars rovers:


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