Techfile

Richard Waters

With the iPad, Apple proved that less really can be more. Despite lacking some basic things, like a built-in keyboard and support for Flash, the iPad has risen above its own limitations.

The challenge for Google’s new Chrome operating system is to prove that it, too, can power a new category of device, one that justifies being judged on its own terms, not compared constantly to the traditional personal computing experience. The first machine to carry Chrome, the Cr-48, certainly goes a long way towards fulfilling Google’s vision of an internet-centric notebook – but this is no iPad. Read more

By Ralph Jennings in Taipei

Could this be a way to turn any computer monitor into a touchscreen, at least for limited applications like adding a signature to a document?

A company in Taiwan has designed electronic sticky notes that can “melt” everything from a signature to a drawing right through a computer LCD screen and into the system. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The iMac in 1998 , the iPod in 2001 , the iPhone in 2007, the MacBook Air in 2008.

Steve Jobs has launched one iconic design after another since his return to Apple and today unveiled the Silicon Valley company’s latest creation – the iPad – a tablet device  that promises to shake up the technology and media industries.

Preparations have been underway for the event at the Yerba Buena Center (pictured) in San Francisco all week, and we liveblogged the event. Read more

Richard Waters

Sometimes it feels like every news story you read is about Apple. If it’s not the iPhone or the phantom tablet, then it’s Steve Jobs’ health.

So to make up for it, today’s headlines are being hogged by Google. There was the first appearance of the much-hyped Android 2.0 on the Droid handset, not to mention what Techcrunch called a “killer app” for the new mobile software platform: a navigation service (see item below).

But that’s not all. In other Google news: the launch of Music Search, and efforts to appease the FCC. Read more

Joseph Menn

UPDATE: follow it live. Chris Nuttall will be providing live coverage from San Francisco of Wednesday’s Apple event, starting at 10am local time. Follow it here.

Apple is holding a music-themed press event tomorrow, where it is expected to unveil a package of  goodies that will start being attached to sales of full digital albums.

The product, code-named Cocktail by the record labels, will include interactive lyric sheets, photos and other virtual extras aimed at replicating and improving on the old experience of opening a vinyl record sleeve or CD boxed set filled with trinkets. Read more

David Gelles

  • Barnes & Noble unveiled its challenge to Amazon’s Kindle e-book service with an expanded online store selling more than 200,000 e-book titles for both laptop computers and mobile devices. The chain also said it would provide the e-book store for a wireless portable e-reader being developed by Plastic Logic that is scheduled for launch next year.
  • Texas Instruments, the second largest US chipmaker, reported a surge in demand for its products in the second quarter as it beat revenue and profit expectations. Following Intel’s positive outlook last week, TI gave another boost to the tech sector, forecasting solid growth in the current quarter.

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David Gelles

David Gelles

  • Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, reported its strongest pick-up in business in more than 20 years, giving a major lift to the PC industry and technology sector. Intel reported second-quarter revenues of $8bn, up 12 per cent on the first quarter and well ahead of analyst expectations of $7.23bn. Its profit of 18 cents a share also easily exceeded a consensus of 8 cents. The chipmaker was the first big technology company to report earnings this season, providing a boost to the sector and the wider market.
  • Dell plans to plunge into the crowded smartphone market and invest in other new areas, fuelling investor concerns that profit margins will continue to erode at the world’s second-largest computer maker. Ronald Garriques, president of Dell’s consumer division, said the company would “work with the top three to four” telecommunications carriers “and see what their needs are”.The declaration follows innovations in recent months from other manufacturers of internet-enabled phones such as Apple and Research in Motion, while spending on other computing products is flagging.
  • Microsoft unveiled pricing details and launch plans for Windows Azure, the “cloud” operating system that Ray Ozzie hopes will become the online analogue to Windows on the personal computer – a platform that supports applications on the internet. The formalising of the plans, with Azure services going on sale in November, caps the first stage in an planned cultural and technological transformation of the world’s biggest software company.

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David Gelles

  • Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian internet group that has invested $200m in Facebook, will purchase up to $100m in common stock from existing shareholders in the social network. The deal clarifies Facebook’s valuation, giving its common stock a value of about $6.5bn. This is higher than the rumoured valuations last autumn when a similar deal was considered, but lower than the value of Facebook’s preferred stock.
  • Microsoft escalated its battle with arch rival Google, reacting to an assault on one of its core businesses with the announcement of a free online version of its widely used Office software, to be launched next year. While likely to take only a small bite out of Office revenues in the short term, the move represents one of the most radical steps yet by Microsoft as it tries to refocus its software business around the internet, according to analysts.

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David Gelles

Richard Waters

  • Google’s unveiling of the new Chrome OS at least a year before consumers will actually be able to buy it brought cries of “vapourware!” from critics.  Yet the prospect of a Google PC operating system to rival Windows created an even bigger splash than the arrival of the Chrome browser last year. Fake Steve had the last laugh - while also successfully puncturing some of the hype that has already built up around the promised software.
  • With both public and private websites in the US and South Korea coming under assault in an unusually powerful cyber-attack, it was not surprising that suspicion fell on North Korea. Yet if this follows the pattern of most other attacks, the true source will never be identified.

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David Gelles

  • Microsoft and Brussels have started a new round of talks over a potential settlement of the software company’s antitrust travails in Europe. The resumption of what one person close to the situation described as the “on again, off again” discussions comes as the regulators move closer to imposing stringent penalties on Microsoft over its practice of “bundling” its Internet Explorer browser with the Windows operating system.
  • Facebook showed off the power of its Connect service today, as about 1m of its users logged into sites like CNN, ABC and MTV to chat about the Michael Jackson memorial service. Some members were wallflowers, but others were chatty, posting upwards of 800,000 status updates through the partner sites. Twitter, no doubt, also experienced a boost during the memorial service, but Facebook clearly proved that it, too, could be a prominent forum for public discussion.

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David Gelles

  • The Department of Justice has started an informal review of the exclusive arrangements that limit handsets such as Apple ’s iPhone to particular wireless communications companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • EMC upped the ante in the battle for Data Domain, offering $2.4bn, or $33.50 a share, for the innovative data storage company that had agreed to be purchased by NetApp. The bidding war, rare for the technology industry, reflects the perception that Data Domain’s technology will be especially important as the storage industry evolves.

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David Gelles

Richard Waters

David Gelles

  • Mozilla released the latest version of its Firefox internet browser, warming up a battle between competing browsers that is dramatically increasing the speed with which web pages are viewed. The 3.5 version of the Firefox software was released to the public on Tuesday, with a capability of loading web pages more than twice as fast as its 3.0 predecessor, thanks to advances in JavaScript, the scripting language.
  • The Chinese government backed away from its Wednesday deadline for new computers sold in the country to come equipped with Green Dam/Youth escort, an internet filter ostensibly aimed at pornography sites that also blocks users from reaching some Web pages devoted to politically sensitive topics. While authorities said they would continue to move forward with the initiative, computer companies were encouraged and said strong domestic opposition and international pressure might shelve the harsh controls for good.

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  • The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, picked as the nonprofit group’s chief executive Rod Beckstrom, who until earlier this year served as cyber-security czar at the US Department of Homeland Security. Like his predecessors, Mr Beckstrom didn’t accomplish much there, but it later emerged he had a skeleton staff and equivalent funding. ICANN is as close to a governing body as the internet gets, but its core mission is minding the process by which Website names and numeric addresses are assigned.
  • Some early buyers of Windows 7 will get it for the knock-down price of $49.99. Rob Enderle thought the limited-time special offer was a direct response to the $29 Apple is charging for an upgrade to Snow Leopard. Michael Gartenberg called it a “missed opportunity” to give all Vista users the chance to move beyond the much-maligned operating system.

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  • Apple‘s new iPhone 3G S, which costs an unsubsidised $599 to buy in the 16Gb version, costs only $179 to make, according to iSuppli. The research firm took the phone apart to price its parts and found Toshiba provided the most expensive component – the flash memory at $24.
  • Google unveiled a public trial of a key piece of its mobile internet strategy - an extension of the AdSense network to mobile app developers. Developers will be able to include adverts in their apps targeted by keyword, demographics and location. This potentially gives developers access to the entire base of AdSense advertisers, posing a big challenge to specialist mobile ad networks like AdMobs.
  • Seagate Technology, which has cut jobs and salaries and restructured to combat slumping hard-drive sales, may have turned a corner. In a trading update, it raised its sales expectations for the current quarter to between $2.2bn and $2.3bn and predicted the industry would sell 120m hard drives, compared to its earlier estimate of 114m.

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  • A Tennessee hospital has confirmed it carried out a liver transplant on Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive.  The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis said Mr Jobs was “the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available. Mr Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.”
  • Intel and Nokia unveiled plans to work together to create a type of mobile computing device beyond today’s smartphones and netbooks. The move takes Intel a step further towards a breakthrough into the highly prized mobile phone market. Nokia typically works with potential suppliers on joint research for several years before deciding to adopt a particular technology.

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