Archive for December, 2009

Barnes & Noble giving $100 for Nook pre-orders that miss Christmas

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Haven’t got your Nook yet? You may actually be in luck. For people who pre-ordered early enough to expect a pre-Christmas delivery, Barnes & Noble is promising a $100 B&N.com gift card if it misses December 24th — which is apparently distinctly possible. Of course, if you’re one of the lucky / unlucky ones to have this on offer, you’ve probably already seen the email, and if you’re a different sort of hapless pre-orderer that won’t be seeing a Nook until next year, this is just another reason to curse your lot in life. To think: not only are you not ushering in 2010 from an economy suite in a space hotel, but you’re going to wrap up this year reading paper books, without $100 to show for it! Can’t we do better as a civilization?

source Consumerist

Seagate’s Momentus Thin to ship in 160GB / 250GB sizes this January

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We weren’t waiting on too many more details surrounding Seagate’s 7mm thin laptop hard drive, but one critical tidbit has just now been unearthed by the outfit itself. The Momentus Thin will make its official unveiling at CES here in just a few weeks, where it’ll be available in 160GB and 250GB capacities and with 8MB of cache, a 5400RPM spin speed and a SATA 3Gbps interface. We’re also told that it’ll be far less expensive than similarly sized 1.8-inch HDD options, which means this bugger could soon be planted into Atom D410 / D510-based netbooks. The drive is slated to ship to OEM and integrator partners next month, though specific price points have yet to be mentioned. Have a peek at the first press shots below. Read more

LCD price fixing investigation reaches $860 million in total fines, Chi Mei latest to ‘fess up

14dec9iyv234ra It’s not every day we get to cite an official US Department of Justice news release, so it’s with a certain glee that we can announce the US taxpayer was last week enriched by another $220 million courtesy of the not-so-fine folks who swindled him out of that money in the first place. Joining the ignominious ranks of LG, Sharp, Hitachi and Chungwa Picture Tube, Taiwanese manufacturer Chi Mei is refunding the US state for the pecuniary impact of its collusive practices, which were primarily related to keeping prices artificially high and profits proportionately inflated. US companies directly affected by these ignoble activities include HP, Dell and Apple, but don’t you worry, AT&T has already started the inter-corporation scuffle, with Nokia piling on for good measure. Man, it almost seems like crime doesn’t pay.

source:US Department of Justice

Detroit Preview: BMW to unveil faster Z4 sDrive35is, almost an M

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When BMW launched the new Z4 early this year, they made it clear that, unlike the last Z4 and the Z3 before it, there were no plans to create an M version this time around. Of course, forgoing the M nomenclature doesn’t mean that BMW won’t create a faster Z4 than what’s currently in showrooms.

In fact, the first of those faster roadsters will debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. The Z4 sDrive35is is based on the existing 35i, with its delicious twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Compared to the existing turbo Z4, the new model gets a higher-flow intake and the turbos are allowed to spin up to higher boost pressures, resulting in an 11 percent bump in both power and torque output. The ’35is now makes 335 hp and 332 pound-feet. In fact, for brief bursts, the 35is can crank up the boost even higher resulting in short periods of up to 369 pound-feet of torque.

BMW claims the Z4 sDrive35is will get to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. Other features of the 35is include revised electric electric power steering programming, a standard dual-clutch gearbox, and brake energy regeneration. Visually, the 35is wears some M Sport aero and suspension bits and sees its ride height dropped 0.4 inches lower than the standard 35i. They may not be calling this a full M Roadster, but in most respects, that’s exactly what this new model is. Read more

Google Phone / Nexus One makes first Twitter appearance? (update: new pics!)

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Look familiar? For a story that broke on Twitter it’s only fitting that the first reported picture of the mythical, magical “Google Phone” (AKA, Nexus One) would appear there as well. The tweeted image above appears courtesy of one Cory O’Brien, an account manager at a San Francisco Bay Area marketing agency that does not list Google as a client. That note of caution aside, the image above is an exact match to that leaked HTC Passion / Bravo image from October, only this time lacking the HTC logo on the top-side bezel. Besides the pic, O’Brien tweets that the “Google Phone = iPhone + a little extra screen and a scroll wheel. Great touch screen, and Android.” Granted, none of this is confirmed yet, but with Google releasing so many of the devices as part of its “mobile lab” concept, well, we expect to see plenty more sightings in the run up to the rumored January launch.

Update: A quick search for “nexus one” on Google’s Picasa photo service reveals several pictures taken with a camera pegged as the HTC Nexus One in the EXIF data. The very first of these geotagged 2592×1944 pixel (that’s a 5 megapixel sensor folks, hardly “weirdly large” as described by TechCrunch) images were taken by user Bradley (who just happens to be a Picasa friend to Sergey… hint) in the SF Bay Area on November 27th. A few are clearly lit by an onboard flash as well. In fact, many of the pics appear to be taken from within Google’s offices and at Google sponsored events. The quality is not exactly spectacular and that won’t likely change in the final product because even Google’s bound by the laws of physics when it comes to tiny cellphone sensors. Read more

Joojoo tablet gets its first batch of press shots, $30 dock accesory

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Up until now, the only official shot of the Joojoo tablet was that seductive snippet of the corner. ‘Course, you got a pretty good look of the thing if you bothered to watch our sit-down with Fusion Garage’s Chandra Rathakrishnan, but it’s still a pleasing sight to see the company push out a nice gallery of press shots to really tickle the senses. We aren’t exactly sure if these guys have Cameron’s approval to use Avatar screen shots to promote their product, but at this point, we wouldn’t put anything regarding the Joojoo beyond the realm of feasibility. Oh, and if you were wondering how you’d eventually use this thing as an at-home movie viewer, the $29.99 dock accessory pictured above is the answer. One word of caution, however: given all the drama surrounding this thing, use that pre-order button at your own risk. Read more

Barnes & Noble Nook now arriving to customers

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There was a definite moment of utter pre-launch confusion there, but it looks like the Barnes & Noble Nook is indeed shipping to customers — reader Peter just sent in this photo of his cold chilling on a desk. We’ll see if B&N can crank out the rest of its pre-orders before the holidays, but at least there’s hope now.

London school children to get free loaner iPhones in experimental, educational trial

picsiphone-handIt’s not the first time we’ve seen the iPhone used as an experimental means of education, but a London school’s recent announcement of its plans has caught our attention. The Gumley House Convent School — a small, Christian School for girls ages 11 to 18 — in London has laid out its plan to use give Apple’s smartphone to a select group of 30 students as a test educational measure. Previous efforts we’ve seen to rope the iPhone into modern education have been mostly at the collegiate level, but Gumley’s plan is still a bit vague. The girls will have free access to all of the phone’s features with the exception of actual calls, and the trial will last until the end of the school year. Like we said — the school’s not given out details as to what the actual rules of use will be — but we have a feeling this will all end in some wild bout of texting overload.