Apple has reportedly placed a new order for 30 million display panels per year from leading display manufacturer AU Optronic. The unconfirmed report from Taiwan Economic News suggests Apple paid a huge 300-400% premium to lock in the order, which could see AU Optronics produce up to 100,000 iPad 2 displays each day. The order accounts for about half of the global tablet market, the report claims. Apple had sourced its 9.7-inch iPad 2 displays from LGD and Samsung and some manufacturing took place in Japan, which could be part of the reason for Apple’s willingness to pay a premium to a new supplier. It is also unclear if the move is a response to light leakage problems many have reported with Apple’s current iPad 2 displays. More →
In the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, Google has issued an experimental version of its Translate application for Android. “Download this experimental version of Google Translate for Android to translate text automatically between Japanese and over 50 other languages,” writes Google. “You can also use Conversation Mode for speech-to-speech translation between English, Spanish and Japanese.” The app, which is posted on Google’s “Japan Crisis Response” page, will run on Android version 2.0 or higher and is available here or by scanning the above QR code. More →
In a purported email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to employees, Jobs sympathizes with staff who have loved ones affected by the current nuclear crisis taking place in Japan. The email, which was published Wednesday on Japanese tech site Chihouban.com, offers support to Apple employees who need it. “Our hearts go out to you and your families, as well as all of your countrymen who have been touched by this tragedy,” Jobs writes. “If you need time or resources to visit or care for your families, please see HR and we will help you. If you are aware of any supplies that are needed, please also tell HR and we will do what we can to arrange delivery.” Hit the jump for Jobs’ full letter to Apple employees. More →
In the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Apple, Inc. has announced that it will postpone the release of its iPad 2 tablet in Japan. The iPad 2 was scheduled to launch in twenty six international markets — including Japan — on the 25th of March; the company will go forward with its release in the other twenty five markets. “Our hearts go out to the people of Japan, including our employees and their families, who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy,” wrote an Apple spokesperson. The company has yet to communicate a new launch date for the product. More →
In an email correspondence with blog Phone Scoop earlier today, Sprint confirmed that it too would provide its customers with free calling and text messaging to Japanese phone lines. The news comes just hours after both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced similar policies for both their wireless and wireline subscribers. Although the U.S.’s fourth largest carrier — T-Mobile — was the first to offer this courtesy when an earthquake struck Haiti back in January of 2010, the company has, up to this point, been silent. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all committed to waiving fees assessed to users making a donation to the Japanese relief effort via text message. More →
In response to last week’s tsunami, AT&T has announced that its wireless customers, in the United States and Puerto Rico, can call or text Japan for free through March 31st. AT&T has also said it will not charge its wireless postpaid customers for international long distance calls or texts to Japan that were placed after March 11th. Similarly, AT&T wireline customers can seek credit for up to 60 minutes of direct calls placed to Japan during the March 11th to March 31st time period. Anyone who wishes to donate $10 to the Red Cross can do so by texting “redcross” to 90999. More →
Following a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck 230 miles off the coast of Tokyo, Japan, Google has announced a free Web-based tool that will help people locate friends and loved ones. The massive earthquake — one of the largest ever recorded — struck overnight and was following by a series of intense aftershocks. Tsunamis measuring over 20-feet tall were triggered, and the power of the tremendous quakes will send massive waves all the way to the west coast of the U.S. and beyond. Google’s Person Finder tool is already home to over 7,000 records, intended to help those with friends and family in affected regions locate loved ones with whom they may have lost contact. Hundreds have already been confirmed dead in Japan and many more have been reported missing. Our thoughts are with those affected and we urge readers to provide any aid possible if they are in a position to do so. More →
Living on the land of the rising sun? Well, we’re jealous because the Nintendo 3DS went on sale there this morning and Nintendo is said to have swiftly moved their initial 400,000 unit stockpile pretty swiftly (including pre-orders). Lines were said to be as long as 2,000 people deep for the ¥25,000 portable gaming system, but you can’t put a price on 3D, can you? Nintendo’s 3DS launches in the US on March 27th for $349 and is backward-compatible with previous Nintendo DS games including DSi games.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re rewinding time just fifteen short years back to 1996. A time when the Macarena was on top of the charts, the Olympics were in Atlanta, and fanny-packs were still moderately socially acceptable. We’re talking toys, and today we’re talking about Tamagotchis.
First sold in 1996, Tamagotchis were portable, digital pets often seen dangling from keychains and backpacks. Before you could care for Sims on your PC, you could purchase a Tamagotchi from your local toy store, activate it, name it, and care for it from its infancy all the way through its twilight years. The more love and affection you doted upon your digital pet — by feeding it, playing with it, and picking up after it — the better behaved it was (meaning: the less time you had to spend with it; ironic we know). Neglect your little, digital friend and it would die. The Tamagotchi came in a host of different forms: dogs, cats, zoo animals, humans — you name it and you could virtually care for it. Parents and parent groups were enamored with the toys; thinking they were an excellent way to teach children responsibility and hard work… or something like that.
How about it? What was the name of your Tamagotchi? More →
With near field communication technology shaping up to be the number one new feature on handsets and mobile devices starting next year, a Japanese carrier is already planning on releasing limited NFC functionality to the iPhone 4. Softbank is set to debut a NFC sticker or “seal” which will cover almost the entire rear of the device without preventing the use of Apple’s Bumper cases. While the NFC sticker doesn’t appear to interact with the iPhone in any way, it will reportedly allow iPhone 4 users in Japan to interact with some of the most common mobile payment solutions. The NFC sticker is made of polyurethane, is 0.5 ounces in weight, and should be available for $36 starting in February from Softbank in Japan.