1/5/2006

HP drops iTunes, taps RealNetworks for music

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After several years of distributing Apple Computer’s iTunes software with its new PCs, Hewlett-Packard is shifting its allegiances to rival RealNetworks’ Rhapsody music service, the companies plan to announce Thursday.

The computer maker’s decision to drop Apple has been widely expected, after the company said last summer that it would stop distributing an HP-branded version of the iPod.

The deal marks a new direction for HP, which had seen its entertainment products overshadowed by the power of Apple’s own brand. Rhapsody will now be the default music-playing software on HP’s new PCs and laptops, and beginning in spring 2006, HP customers will get a free 30-day trial subscription to RealNetworks’ music subscription service.

Source: News.com

Google to offer new video download service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc is to allow users of its site to buy videos from content partners in an upgrade to its video-search service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The newspaper said Google will announce its plans to allow consumers to buy television shows or other videos that can be downloaded onto their computers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal said Google is likely to unveil partnerships related to the new service with CBS Corp. and the National Basketball Association.

The report also said Google planned to introduce a software package with offerings from Google and other companies that users can download and put on their computers. The Wall Street Journal said the bundle is to be called Google Pack.

Source: Reuters

HD DVD backers promise 200 movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The video format wars kicked into high gear on Wednesday when the companies backing HD DVD said that nearly 200 titles would be available for the format by the end of the year.

Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, HBO Video, New Line Entertainment and Warner Home Video stood up with Toshiba at the Computer Electronics Show in here and pledged that movies such as “Million Dollar Baby,” “Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Full Metal Jacket” and Sahara” and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) would come out this year on HD DVD disks.

In all, these studios above represent more than half of the movies ever made, said Nancy O’Dell, the host of Access Hollywood and ersatz syndication TV celebrity who served as the emcee for the event at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Source: News.com

Windows-Based Treo Smartphone Arrives

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Palm Inc.’s newest Treo smartphone is its first based on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, but the pioneering handheld maker adds plenty of distinct touches of its own.

The Treo 700w, available on the Verizon Wireless cellular service starting Thursday, also integrates access to Verizon’s high-speed EV-DO data network.

While the original Treos - based on the Palm operating system - helped define the smartphone category, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm hopes the new Windows-based model will expand its reach into the lucrative market of corporate users.

Source: AP

Broadcom unveils chip that plays Blu-Ray, HD-DVD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Broadcom Corp. could help PC and DVD manufacturers sidestep the choice between two high-definition recording standards with a chip that can decode signals recorded in either format.

The chip company unveiled the BCM7411D chip today, ahead of the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show where high-definition players and recorders based on the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD standards are expected to be showcased.

The chip supports the H.264 and VC-1 recording standards, both of which are used by Blu-Ray and HD DVD recording technology. It also supports video recorded in the high-definition MPEG-2 format. The company released a reference design with the BCM7411D and a companion chip that gives manufacturers a blueprint to build high-definition DVD players.

“Our chip set will play 100% of HD-DVD and 100% of Blu-Ray, and all the special features that come with that,” Goldberg said.

Source: computer world

Mobile and consumer devices get a Flash from Adobe

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Adobe released the next version of Flash player for mobile devices, Flash Lite 2, on Tuesday along with Flash Player SDK 7 for consumer electronics. Adobe acquired Flash when it bought Macromedia last year.

Flash Lite and Flash Player SDK can be incorporated into devices by manufacturers, allowing users of those devices to view Flash animations in the same way as desktop PC users. They’re also aimed at providing a framework for the device’s own UI.

Source: ZDNet

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