Japanese blog Macotakara.jp is reporting from parts makers in Asia that Apple’s upcoming MacBook Air refresh, expected in the next two weeks, will use super-speedy 400Mbps NAND flash storage chips. In addition to being incredibly fast — even faster that the current MacBook Air solution, which uses an mSATA connector to connect the SSD to the motherboard — these new NAND flash storage chips would be soldered directly to the motherboard, bypassing any connector. If true, this new change would result in 100-times performance increase over the current solution, and coupled with a rumored bump to i5 / i7 processors, the new MacBook Airs should absolutely fly. More →
Apple’s senior manager in charge of its new iCloud solution has left the company to join online healthcare startup HealthTeacher. John Herbold held senior positions on the iCloud team and the MobileMe team before that, and he worked on a number of other projects while at Apple. Herbold joins HealthTeacher as Vice President of Product, focusing on digital engagement. “John has a proven background of engaging audiences across the devices we use to learn,play, socialize and be entertained,” said Scott McQuigg, CEO of HealthTeacher, in a statement. “Applying his experience developing world-class interactive products, John will lead our efforts tobroaden digital engagement with kids, their families and their teachers, all focused on measurably improving youth health.” HealthTeacher, according to the company’s website, is a service for school teachers that helps them provide health promotion, disease prevention, social/emotional wellness and safety resources to students. HealthTeacher’s full press release follows below. More →
The DROID Incredible 2 recently landed on Verizon Wireless, and it has some tough shoes to fill. When the original launched, it was BGR’s favorite Android phone to date despite stiff competition from the Motorola DROID, which launched at the same time. The DROID Incredible 2 packs some decent hardware, like a 1GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video, and more, but its specs — and data speeds — don’t match those of phones at the higher end of Verizon’s portfolio. Is the DROID Incredible 2 a worthy successor to the original or does it fall short? Read on to find out!
mSpot just took the wraps off of its new Radio Spotter Beta app for Android, which will allow users to listen to their own cloud-based music, as well as tunes from streaming radio stations. It works like this: you can match any song you’re playing from your own collection to a radio station to continue playing similar music, or you can select a specific radio station based on genre directly from the application itself. There’s even a new mSpot Music Android application with the built-in Radio Spotter support, so you can take your stations on the go, too. mSpot provides 5GB of space free to new users, but you can sign up for 40GB for $3.99 per month if you have a larger music collection. The company says an iPhone version of the application with Radio Spotter support will launch later this year. Hit the jump for the full release from mSpot. More →
Google announced and launched its Music Beta service on Tuesday, and record execs aren’t too pleased with its decision to move ahead before reaching a deal. “People are pissed,” one record label exec told Hollywood Reporter, which explained in one article why it took so long for Google and the music industry to reach an agreement. Reportedly, Google offered some labels larger advances than others, which resulted in some firms holding out for more money. Similarly, the music industry is concerned that Music Beta users will upload music stolen from P2P sites — that the industry already wants removed from Google’s search results — to Google’s music storage locker. Lastly, the recording industry was concerned that Google’s music service could weaken the revenue stream from other sources, such as Apple’s iTunes. Ultimately, driven by competition from Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Google decided to pull the trigger and launch anyway. More →
After years of waiting from BlackBerry users, the ultimate BlackBerry has finally been made official. We broke the story on the next generation BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, and we even spent some one-on-one time with it, but there is nothing like an official announcement, right? As far as specs, it’s everything we reported it would be — 1.2GHz processor, 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording, 8GB of onboard storage, and more. As far as availability, RIM said that the new BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 will be available from “carriers around the world” starting this summer. We’re hearing June / July still. Entire press release is after the break. More →
Following up on a rumor from yesterday, Digital Daily‘s John Paczkowski has confirmed that Apple has purchased the domain name icloud.com — henceforth to be known as iCloud, we’re sure. “Sources in a position to know” confirmed to the publication that Swedish company Xcerion has sold the domain to Apple, although they could not confirm that the Cupertino-based company paid $4.5 million for it as was reported yesterday. Apple is widely expected to launch a cloud-based service in the very near future. More →
According to the latest Internet rumor, Apple’s presumed cloud-based service may be getting a familiar moniker. Blog GigaOM is reporting that the Cupertino company has purchased the domain name iCloud.com from Swedish company Xcerion. We wouldn’t be surprised if the rumor turned out to be true, Apple has had a love affair with the vowel “i” since the early 1990’s, although, as TechCrunch points out, the iPad was thought to be called the iSlate at one point. The report states that Apple paid $4.5 million for the domain name, and states that Xcerion recently re-branded its service’s name from iCloud to CloudMe. Apple did not respond to the site’s request for comment. More →
Today’s one of those days when we wish we lived in South Korea. Samsung’s hot new Galaxy S II — which packs a dual-core Orion CPU, an 8 megapixel camera, a 4.27-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen, and more — hits the South Korean market on all three of the country’s wireless carriers. Samsung shipped more than 14 million of the first generation Galaxy S devices, and it hopes to sell at least 10 million Galaxy S II handsets as the device makes its debut in 120 countries and on 140 different carriers in the coming months. “We expect sales to be as good as the Galaxy S,” Shin Jong-Kyun, president of Samsung Mobile, told AFP. Unfortunately there’s no word if or when the Galaxy S II will hit the United States, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up given that the first generation was offered by each of the big-four carriers. More →
Might as well let other major mobile operating system manufacturers in on the location-tracking scandal fun, no? While Apple, and to a much lesser extent Google, have come under fire for their phone location storage practices, other major OS manufacturers have been silent. We’re not sure being the “squeaky wheel” would pay dividends in this instance. That hasn’t stopped the media from asking, however, and CNET posed the question to Microsoft: what do you track?
“Microsoft says its operating system transmits the MAC address of the Wi-Fi access point (but not the name), signal strength, a randomly generated unique device ID retained for an unspecified limited period of time, and, if GPS is turned on, the precise location and direction and speed of travel,” writes CNET. “That happens when the ‘application or user makes a request for location information,’ the company says.”
CNET has a laundry list of questions for Microsoft that remain unanswered. The current location brouhaha now has the attention of the courts and some distinguished members of the United States Congress — so we’re betting most major mobile operating system manufacturers will be answering questions in an official capacity in the near future. More →
According to a report filed by Reuters, Apple will edge out Google in the race to provide users with a cloud music service. “Apple’s plans will allow iTunes customers to store their songs on a remote server, and then access them from wherever they have an Internet connection,” writes Reuters, citing two people familiar with Apple’s plans. The article goes on to cite a source familiar with Google’s cloud music plans, simply saying that the venture has stalled. “Apple has not told its music partners of when it intends to introduce its music locker,” the report continues. It has been widely rumored that Apple’s new North Carolina data center will be the bit-locker and heart of this new music venture. Apple declined Reuters request for comment. More →
Record labels seem to have a hard time understanding one, simple truth: after a consumer purchases a song — be it on a CD or digitally — the consumer owns that file. Period. It is, however, nice to know that at least one large corporation respects that fact, Amazon. In a letter penned to music labels, the online retail giant stated that its new Cloud Drive music service has boosted digital MP3 sales and goes on to explain why it does not need permission from record labels for its use. “There has been speculation that we are looking for licenses for Cloud Drive and Cloud Player,” reads the e-mail. “We are not looking for licenses for Cloud Drive or Cloud Player as they exist today — as no licensees are required.” Amazon continues, “Cloud Player is a media management and play-back application not unlike Windows Media Player and any number of other media management applications that let customers manage and play their music. It requires a license from content owners no more than those applications do. It really is that simple.” The company did mention that further improvements may require licensing, and that record labels can “expect to hear more” from Amazon on potential licensing “in the near future.” David Israeite of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) called the move “troubling,” and added that Amazon was not creating “an environment of trust and cooperation.” More →
Right on queue, Amazon has announced a new, cloud-based, music storage service dubbed Cloud Drive. The new offering will allow users to store up to 5GB of music in Amazon’s new, online locker and playback uploaded tracks via their Android smartphone, Android tablet, Mac, or PC. Users that purchase a complete album via Amazon’s MP3 store will automatically be upgraded to 20GB of storage, free of charge, and tracks purchased on Amazon are automatically uploaded to the cloud; purchased tracks do not count towards your storage quota. Stored music can be played-back using the Cloud Player for Web or Cloud Player for Android software (available in the Market now) and additional storage plans starting at $20 per year (we know some of you have large music collections). Congratulations Amazon, you are officially the first to market. The full press release is after the break. More →