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We've covered this story quite a bit since it broke, with an editorial, and multiple news pieces as things happened. Even when it was declared he was knocked from his No. 1 spot on COD: Modern Warfare 3. Today, marks a new direction in the case of Megaupload's founder Kim Dotcom. He has received bail, and now has some fairly strict conditions put upon him.
Within the North Shore District Court, we had Justice Dawson, Kim Dotcom, and a bunch of suits. Once it was all done and dusted, Kim Dotcom received the following conditions: he is completely banned from the Internet. Justice Dawson stated that he shouldn't have access to the Internet as he has "the ability to use it for wrong purposes".
Intel are expected to launch their Ivy Bridge processors for second-generation Ultrabooks sometime after May, and have demanded that data read/write speeds reach a certain level through adoption of SSDs or hybrid hard disk drives, according to a new report from Digitimes.
Most vendors are expected to adopt hybrid HDDs in order to cut costs, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Intel will reportedly promote Ivy Bridge in a different way, by slashing prices by US$60-70 on average, according to said sources. Storage devices within notebook production costs suck up around 10 to 15-percent, so vendors will obviously want to cut prices where they can.
Samsung Australia have just inked a deal with Blockbuster, where they'll allow thousands of Blockbuster movies to their new range of Smart TVs, as well as Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets. Paul Uniacke, CEO of the Franchise Entertainment Group (who owns the rights to the Blockbuster brand in Australia) says that "the Samsung deal is a brilliant deal".
This will allow Australians to have access to thousands of movies that can be streamed directly to Samsung-branded products such as Blu-ray players, Smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and more. The new deal will also allow Samsung to push Blockbuster movies onto Samsung-branded notebooks and Ultrabooks.
According to "Samsung sources", the content deal struck with Blockbuster will not be announced until the second half of 2012, where global Samsung plans to launch their Blockbuster offering in the USA, UK, and Europe in the first half of 2012, with Australians getting access to the content as early as September.
The Windows Team Blog, and more specifically, Principal Director of User Experience for Windows, Sam Moreau, have unveiled the new redesigned logo for Windows 8. Before we get into it, check it out below:
First impressions? Personally? I love it. It looks much more professional and "now", and would look great on a new Windows 8-based device (such as the tablets, or Ultrabooks ready to hit this year). Microsoft put the call out to a few agencies to work with them on the project of redesigning their logo and ended up with Pentagram.
Pentagram were called into the conference room over at the Microsoft campus, where a meeting with Paula Scher, Michael Beirut and Daniel Weil of Pentagram attended, as well as a few designers and marketing leaders from Windows and across Microsoft. The team of people spent an entire day sharing some of the Metro style design philosophy; the Windows brand history and values as well as graphic design and technology industry trends.
Intel's upcoming 22nm-based Ivy Bridge processors are set to be delayed by a few months, because Sandy Bridge-based notebook inventories are not moving as fast as notebook makers, and Intel, want. Mass shipments of Ivy Bridge were expected in April, but may be pushed along until June, according to DigiTimes.
First-tier notebook vendors are having problems pushing their Sandy Bridge-based notebook inventories, and because of the weak global economy, this won't go away anytime soon. Intel is also troubled by it Sandy Bridge processor inventory, which means they have plans to delay the mass shipments of Ivy Bridge-based tech in order to minimize the impact.
Now that the launch schedule has changed, notebook vendors are shuffling plans for new Ivy Bridge-based products. These plans are still shaky, even with the delay, because of the impending release of Microsoft's next game-changing OS, Windows 8. The PC replacement trend won't catch on until Windows 8 is released, which is my opinion, and seems to be the opinion of notebook vendors, too.
Sony and Ericsson now split, Ericsson keeps the cars, Sony takes the house and renames it Sony Mobile Communications
Sony and Ericsson's split is now finalized, with Sony taking over Ericsson's 50-percent stake in the former joint venture. This move has reportedly cost $1.37 billion to complete and with it now being fully Sony-owned, Sony have renamed Sony Ericsson to "Sony Mobile Communications".
The agreement was completed today, and has Sony absorbing the broad IP cross-licensing agreement, among others, which now makes Sony Ericsson a "wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony". Not that this news is exciting, but it'll be interesting to see where Sony takes their Sony Mobile Communications to, from here.
Will they try to compete much harder against Apple, Samsung, and others? Will they choose to continue with their Android-based products, or will they diversify and move onto Windows Phone 7 in the future, or Windows 8 devices? Time will tell, I guess.
Apple awarded patent for the design of the MacBook Air, this could spell trouble for Ultrabook makers
Sigh. Apple have been quite active on the patent front this week, and were just now awarded another 19 patents, one of those for the design of the MacBook Air. Apple could, in theory, use this patent on the MBA to try and block manufacturers marketing their Ultrabook, or ultra-thin/light notebooks in the US.
The patent in question, No. D654,072, refers to an "ornamental design for an electronic device" and actually lists Steve Jobs as one of its creators. The term "MacBook Air" isn't used, but there are drawings of a laptop, where you can clearly see it's a MBA. The patent was awarded on Valentines's Day, and could see Apple use it for evil.
If Apple decide to use the patent as a weapon of mass destruction, they could stop most manufacturers from pushing their Ultrabook, or thin/light/portable notebooks. This could mean serious trouble for the entire consumer PC industry. Intel have a considerable amount of time, money and effort poured into Ultrabooks, and having to duke it out in court with Apple would spell more than one headache for most companies.
If I were Samsung, I'd be changing my design, now.
A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and that picture is Apple being patent trolls. Not only have the Cupertino-based company gone after Samsung multiple times, and even recently against their Galaxy Nexus, but they've gone after several other companies and now the bankrupt company Kodak.
Kodak only filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy a few weeks ago now, but now Apple are seeking approval to sue Kodak in a New York court based on an alleged patent infringement. Kodak are now awaiting a decision from a bankruptcy judge who might give Apple permission to file a patent complain over technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames.
'Oh snapz!' is something our VGA editor, Shane Baxtor likes to say when something like this happens - so, it felt oh so appropriate to use it in this news. The Pirate Bay have just posted on their blog informing their loyal users that Magnet links are now default when wanting to download something, here's the quote:
Quite some time ago we decided to not host torrent files anymore. In following with that decision, we decided to make Magnet links the default option for the Download buttons!
We've just changed places on the links. Magnet is now default, Download torrent is now where the magnet links used to be. The reason is the same as always: Magnets are now good enough to use, and it's not as easy to block as .torrent files. Also it saves us a huge amount of bandwidth!
So go ahead, magnet away!
Do you know what this means? The current court proceedings against The Pirate Bay just got that much harder. This means that the 'illegal' files that are downloaded, are distributed amongst the downloaders. This makes the target turn away from The Pirate Bay and onto tens of millions of downloaders around the world.
So, unless the MPAA and RIAA want to start arresting millions of people around the world, they're kinda stuck. In shark infested waters, without a life jacket, or a flare gun, while a pirate ship sails around them, laughing manically.
If we look back to the beginning of 2011, Apple were worth in excess of $300 billion. Fast forward to the same time this year, and they posted record first-quarter results, with all-time record iPhone, iPad and Mac sales. Just 24 hours ago, Apple shares closed at $500, with a market capitalization of almost $470 billion.