Truphone 3.0 Released

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 23:26
Category: iPhone, Software, Uncategorized

Software Cellular Network Ltd., makers of Truphone software and call services, released version 3.0 of its popular iPhone app. The new version, available in the App Store (iTunes link), adds the following new features:

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  • View your call history in real time.
  • Instant messenger tool is now integrated into the app.
  • Super-clear sound and improved reliability.

The new version requires an iPhone running firmware 2.1 or higher.

Versions of Truphone are also available for the iPod Touch and G1 (Android) Smartphone.

Amazon Acquires iPhone eBook Reader Stanza

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 22:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apparently the Kindle app for iPhone wasn’t enough for Amazon. Monday it was announced on Lexcycle, Inc.’s blog that the online retailer purchased the company which includes the popular iPhone eBook reader Stanza.

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According to the Lexcycle blog, there will be no changes to the Stanza application or it’s function as the result of the acquisition. They imply that they hope they will be able to offer more books and services through the Amazon connection. No mention of the company’s purchase on Amazon’s web site or PR releases.

Lexcycle is encouraging discussion of the move on their forums or by contacting them directly at info@lexcycle.com. You can discuss it on OUR forums and tell us whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is this the first step in an Amazon eBook monopoly? Personally, I think Stanza is a great program so I hope Amazon leaves it alone and just makes good deals on books available to it.

Scientists Look Towards Ferroelectric Transistors for Instant-On Notebook Technologies

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:45
Category: battery, News

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Researchers have apparently developed a technology that could allow notebooks to wake up instantly from shut-down states without draining battery life, as is commonly seen today.
According to Macworld UK, researchers have built ferroelectric material (which is usually found on smartcards) onto silicon, which could allow certain transistors to retain information after power is shut off. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and Northwestern University are involved in the project.
The new findings could save users time by instantly booting laptops to an active and ready state when shut down.
“It would be instant-on, meaning as soon as the power comes back on, your computer would be in exactly the same state it was when you turned it off and ready for action,” said Darrell Schlom, principal investigator and professor at the department of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Quick-boot capabilities are enabled in Notebooks and most mobile devices, though many are unable to recreate shutdown states. As a result, notebooks usually never reboot back to their shutdown state, unless they are in sleep mode, which drains battery power. In essence, ferroelectric materials could wake up laptops from sleep mode, but without drawing any battery power.
The research could pave the way for a new generation of lower-power, higher-speed memory devices, Schlom said. For notebook users, it could reduce the time to load an OS from storage devices like hard drives. The ferroelectric material could also retain data in case power is lost.
The research itself revolves around building ferroelectric transistors, which are capable of retaining data in any electric state, onto hybrid transistors.
The researchers took strontium titanate, a variant of the ferroelectric material used in smartcards, and deposited it on silicon, putting it in a state where it could retain information even when power is off. The new findings cut the intervening layers that made it difficult to put the material on silicon.
Typically when power is turned off, voltages disappear from transistors, which have to be recreated when power is turned on. To recreate them, the relevant information is loaded from nonvolatile storage mediums like hard drives, which takes time. The ferroelectric transistors retain magnetization when the electric field is turned off, allowing it to retain data.
The technology will load operating systems differently from existing memory technologies like DRAM and storage technologies like hard drives and solid-state drives, Schlom said. Ferroelectric transistors conceptually differ in the way data is loaded and retained, Schlom said.
Benefits of ferroelectric transistors were first realized in 1955 by scientists at Bell Labs, Schlom said. Though the recent findings are a major step ahead, additional research is needed to build an actual ferroelectric transistor to make instant-on computing a reality, Schlom said.
He couldn’t provide a timeline for when such transistors would be built.
The researchers also include scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Motorola and Intel. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US government.

Rumor: Apple Could be Developing iPhone Lite, “Media Pad” for Summer Release

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Rumor

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It came from the very depths of Rumorville, but it’s interesting stuff.
Per BusinessWeek, two anonymous sources have stated that Apple and Verizon may release two new Verizon-exclusive iPhone-like products as early as this summer.
The rumors go hand-in-hand with recent talk that the iPhone is coming to Verizon, and that Apple has new devices up its sleeve for the summer.
The first device has been described as an iPhone nano of sorts and may function as a smaller, less expensive iPhone handset. The “iPhone Lite”, as it’s been coined, is smaller and thinner than the existing iPhone and will come cheaper because it “relies on a so-called system on a chip, which incorporates many types of chips and drives down the cost of silicon in such devices.”
The other device is a “media pad” which features the same functionality as an iPod Touch – music, games, photos – but with HD video and calling ability via a Wi-Fi connection.
The sources told Business Week that the device will be smaller than Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook reader, but feature a larger touchscreen, paving the way for more speculation about Apple entering the eBook market.
“The media pad category might go to Verizon,” a witness told Business Week. “We are talking about a device where people will say, ‘Damn, why didn’t we do this?’ Apple is probably going to define the damn category.”

Google Earth 5.0.11729.1014 Released

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:10
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, software giant Google released version 5.0.11729.1014 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 27 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

  • Historical imagery from around the globe.
  • Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts.
  • Simplified touring with audio and voice recording.
  • The new version requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.