Japanese Web and telecom conglomerate Softbank Corp. is working with Apple Computer Inc. to develop mobile telephones with built-in iPod music players, Nikkei reported on Friday.
The music-playing phones can download songs from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said in an article posted on its Web site.
A spokesman for Apple in Cupertino, California, was not immediately available for comment.
The report said Apple and Softbank have agreed to co-develop the phone for sale as early as this year. The device is expected to carry both the Softbank and Apple brands, the report said, without citing the source of the information.
Softbank, which said last month it would buy Vodafone’s Japanese mobile phone business, appears to be looking to use the power of Apple’s brand to compete against mobile market leaders NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp.
Last year, Apple and handset maker Motorola Inc. introduced a music-playing cellphone known as the Rokr that has received disappointing reviews for its design and the limited number of songs that can be stored on the device.
Speculation has mounted that Apple is developing its own mobile phone — popularly labeled the iPhone — that will combine the stylish design of its iPod music and video player with mobile phone features.
Pundits from blog rumor sites to Wall Street analysts have speculated on the meaning of a string of patent applications filed by Apple Computer that stretch back several years and could indicate its ambition to build its own mobile phones.
Also fueling speculation about Apple’s next potential moves is a newly disclosed Apple patent application for a display screen that detects multiple, simultaneous touches or “near touches” to produce separate signals to a device.
Touch-screen technology is widely used in so-called smartphones that have a variety of functions such as phones, e-mail, contact lists, Internet access and cameras.
Apple’s technology would allow users to perform several touch-activated tasks at once, unlike other devices that process only one screen-activated function at a time, according to the application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which was filed on May 6, 2004 and published on Thursday.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment
“Apple is very secretive,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies Inc., a consulting firm in Campbell, California, who cautioned not to read too much into the move. “Apple is very innovative, and if you’re a company that’s innovative, you may file a patent that you may never use.”
But John Ward, a patent attorney and strategist with Greenberg Traurig in Palo Alto, California, said Apple is more selective in its patent filings than other large technology companies.
“They are not a massive application filer,” Ward said. “They certainly are more strategic in what they file on.”
You have a great collection of DVDs and music CDs, but what if you manage to scratch some of them and they refuse to work properly?
There are some handy alternatives at home. Some things like furniture wax, brass polish and toothpaste work fine. Just take any soft cloth, add some of the wax or brass polish to the affected area, and then wipe. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on the surface and leave it for five minutes, before wiping it clean with a soft cloth. Wipe from the centre hub to the outer edge.
Remember, the worst CD scratches are the ones that go circularly around the disc. A scratch from the centre to the rim isn’t as bad. A CD player can miss a beat and you won’t notice it, but if the scratch follows the track pattern of a CD you’ll notice a lot more skipping.
The best thing is to never use solvents to clean your CD, as they may cause permanent damage to the disc. But, while solvents are not a good idea, but if you still want to use one, then use a Kodak Lens cleaner and a lens tissue or soft cloth, to clean your discs. Also, make sure the CD is dry before putting it in the player.
But ideally, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, so here are a few handy tips on how ‘not’ to mess with your precious collection.
1. Always handle your CDs by the edges. Do not touch the shiny side of the disc, as this is the side that the laser reads the information.
2. Cheap plastic sleeves may seem like a good idea at the time, but if exposed to extremes of temperature, the disc and sleeve may stick to one other.
3. Don’t eat, drink, or smoke around your CDs.
4. Never use a ballpoint pen to write on your CDs.
5. Do not try to remove labels from your CD. The adhesive may pull off the foil on which the data is encoded.
6. Acrylic jewel cases provide good protection against dust, scratches, light, and rapid changes in humidity.
UMTS / GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
95 x 50 x 26 mm, 97 cc
TFT, 256K colors
352 x 416 pixels, 35 x 41 mm
Polyphonic (64 channels), Monophonic, True Tones, MP3
miniSD (up to 2GB), hot swap, 128 MB card included
– 40 MB internal memory
Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
Class 10, 236.8 kbps
Yes, 384 kbps
Wi-Fi 802.11g, UMA
Yes, v2.0, Pop-Port
S60 3rd edition (Symbian OS , Series 60 UI)
SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
3.2 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, video(CIF), flash; secondary VGA videocall camera
– UPnP technology- Push to talk – Java MIDP 2.0- MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player- Stereo FM Radio- T9- Voice dial/memo- PIM including calendar, to-do list- Built-in handsfree
Incredible web browser
miniSD card slot (128MB miniSD card included in the package)
Very good 3 megapixel camera with flash
Excellent audio quality
40 MB internal memory
All connectivity options – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IR, USB
UMTS and EDGE support
Rather big dimensions
Top row of the numeric keypad is hardly reachable
No compatibility between Symbian 3rd Generation and lower versions
FM radio lacks RDS
No automatic keypad lock when slid in
Camera lens is not protected
For information seekers, the days of culling Web search pages, ten machine-generated hyperlinks at a time, may be numbered.Yahoo Inc. takes the next step to realize its vision of combining human advice with machine automation to offer more relevant ways of searching the Web.
It is using the millions of human suggestions from its recently introduced Yahoo Answers to complement the mathematically organized features of its core search system. “It’s the right time now to augment Web search results with some human touch,” said Tim Mayer, Yahoo’s product manager for Web search. “We are making search better by allowing users to tap into the collective knowledge of other people.”
Meanwhile, Bill Gross, the inventor of paid Web search who sold the system to Yahoo, is set to unveil a new version of his latest project. Snap.com is aimed at broadband users and gives people visual snapshots of Web sites before they click.
These innovations in how to search for information on the Web aim to compete with the dominant search provider, Google Inc., which analysts say still has a big lead in the current generation of Web search technology.
Google’s dominance is pushing rivals to seek fundamentally new approaches to searching, and Google cannot sit still either, analysts say.For its own part, Google last week began offering Google Co-op, an early effort at human-organized search to boost its algorithmic page-ranking system.
To begin with, Co-op is working with a very fixed set of experts, such as the Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic in health and Fodor’s and Lonely Planet in travel guides. “Some questions need different formats and answers,” said Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products.
VISUALIZING THE WEBSnap.com (http://www.snap.com) has the classic set of 10 links down the left side of its search results page, but each link a user selects is displayed in a half-size screenshot of the Web site’s home page.
Thus users can scroll down a page of links using visual cues instead of reading text. It is surfing by pictures, like flipping through television channels using a remote control. The user can skip over bad pages or broken links before they load.
“Look before you leap,” Snap.com Chief Executive Tom McGovern said in an interview. “People who are more visually oriented will gravitate to this.”
Google runs advertisements alongside search results and only gets paid when consumers click on the ads. Snap.com argues it can take advertising a major step forward by charging only when consumers complete transactions.
But Snap.com also breaks potentially controversial ground in how the site blurs the distinction between sponsored search results and results returned by popular demand. By contrast, major search sites clearly fence-off sponsored results.
An online site where people can ask and have other Yahoo users answer questions, has grown to store nearly 11 million answers related to technical matters or everyday life in more than 800 categories, the company said.
The service has more than 7.2 million users, Yahoo said, citing data from market research firm comScore Networks Inc.The Sunnyvale, California-based company said it is now weaving Yahoo Answers into its core Yahoo Search system. Yahoo Answers, which the Internet media company introduced in December in trial mode, is designed to allow users to ask questions on the Web in plain language. “A lot of people find it difficult to formulate how to come up with the right query,” Mayer said.
“Yahoo Answers let others answer that question. This is the actually taking advantage of the enormous power of the Yahoo community,” Gartner analyst Alan Weiner said. Yahoo has an audience of more than 400 million users across its network of sites.
General Network GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
Announced 2005, 1Q
Size Dimensions 113 x 49 x 11.5 mm, 59 cc
Weight 96 g
Display Type TFT, 256K colors
Size 176 x 220 pixels, 9 lines, 30 x 37 mm
Downloadable wallpapers, screensavers
Ringtones Type Polyphonic (24 channels), MP3
Customization Download, order now
Memory Phonebook 1000 entries, Photo call
Call records 10 dialled, 10 received, 10 missed calls
Card slot microSD (TransFlash), up to 512 MB
11 MB total memory
5 MB free user memory
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
Bluetooth Yes, v1.2
Infrared port No
USB Yes, miniUSB
Features Messaging SMS, EMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML
Games Yes + downloadable
Camera VGA, 640×480 pixels, video
Push to talk
Java MIDP 2.0
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 820 mAh
Stand-by Up to 350 h
Talk time Up to 6 h 40 min
The good: The Motorola Slvr L7 has an attractive overall design. It also comes with an integrated iTunes player, Bluetooth, a sharp display, a TransFlash card slot, and a speakerphone, as well as solid call and music-audio quality.
The bad: The Motorola Slvr L7’s iTunes player is sluggish, and it’s burdened with too many usage restrictions. The phone is further hampered by a low-resolution VGA camera, a lack of support for EDGE, tricky controls, no FM radio or stereo speakers, and little integrated memory.
The bottom line: Motorola’s Slvr L7 puts a prettier face on the iTunes phone, but its low-resolution camera, its sluggish music-player performance, and the limitations on the iTunes usability are big distractions
Nokia, the world’s top mobile phone maker, will unveil on Tuesday a new version of its Internet tablet device that runs Google Talk communications software, sources familiar with the plans said on Friday.
The pact between the Finnish company and Web search leader Google would offer consumers the ability to chat with other users of instant messaging software via the Nokia Wi-Fi device, which relies on short-range wireless networks.
The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, introduced last year, offers wireless access to digital music and video playing on a high-contrast color screen, as well as to check e-mail, surf the Web and read computer documents or play video games.
At a press conference to be held in Stockholm on Tuesday, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia will introduce a new version of the Internet Tablet with upgraded software and hardware elements, one source said.
Nokia’s 770 is available worldwide via its Web site. The 770 is a rectangular, 5.5-inch by 3.1-inch device with a big color screen that is slightly bigger than a mobile phone. It has a retail list price of around $400 in the United States.
In contrast to phones, the Nokia 770 relies on unregulated local wireless connections rather than cell phone networks.
Google Talk, which allows users to chat via text or to talk with other instant message users, will be one of the featured applications on the Nokia Internet Tablet, a second source confirmed.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
The deal with Nokia marks the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google’s latest move beyond computers and into the mobile communications market.
Earlier this year it announced a plan with Nokia’s biggest rival, Motorola, to feature Google search software on Motorola phones.
Google rivals Yahoo and Microsoft are also pushing to have their services featured on handsets. Yahoo is offered on several Nokia phone models.