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Nokia smart phone will have BlackBerry e-mail capability

By wire services
Published October 3, 2005


The BlackBerry service for checking e-mail on the go will be available on a non-BlackBerry device for the first time in the United States with the November launch of a Nokia Corp. smart phone by Cingular Wireless.

The BlackBerry Connect service, introduced this year in Europe and Asia, is the latest entry in a newly crowded market of real-time e-mail platforms for mobile devices.

Last month, Nokia unveiled a rival technology under its own brand.

Cingular is charging $350 for the Nokia 9300 device - $50 less for customers who commit for two years - and $45 per month for unlimited e-mail usage. That's the same rate Cingular charges for BlackBerry service on a BlackBerry device.

The Nokia 9300 runs on the Symbian operating system, a best-selling platform in Europe and other overseas markets.

Research In Motion Ltd. had long sold its dominant BlackBerry service exclusively on its own handhelds.

But the Canadian company decided to license its software to third parties in a bid to fend off a growing array of competitors who are not married to any particular brand of device or operating system.

These rival offerings include a new mobile messaging application from Microsoft Corp. and GoodLink from Good Technology Inc.

Cingular and other cellular service providers also offer services under their own brands using technology from companies including Seven Networks Inc., Visto Corp. and Intellisync Corp.

Research In Motion said there are 3.65-million BlackBerry users, representing nearly a third of the worldwide market but only a fraction of the world's corporate e-mail accounts and cell phones.

Apple to replace iPod Nanos with screen flaws

Display screens crack easily on a small number of iPod Nano digital music players, Apple Computer Inc. has acknowledged, saying it would replace flawed units.

Apple was responding to a flurry of complaints posted to online forums and community sites about faulty screens on the Nano, the tiny music player the company launched last month with much fanfare. Most of the complaints revolved around screen scratches that made the displays difficult to read.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said Apple had received few complaints, and the only real problem was cracked screens, which would be replaced.

"This is a real but minor issue that involved a vendor quality problem in a small number of units," Neumayr said. "This has affected less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total iPod Nano units that we've shipped. And it's not a design issue."

TV still the top tech time consumer, study finds

A study of consumers' daily use of media concluded the average person watches television four hours a day and spends two hours a day on the computer. The Middletown Media Studies II, conducted by researchers at the Ball State University Center for Media Design, found 96 percent of people spent a third of their day using two or more media at the same time, most often the Internet and television.

Bob Papper, a co-author of the study, said, "As a society, we are consumers of media. The average person spends about nine hours a day using some type of media, which is arguably in excess of anything we would have envisioned 10 years ago."

Television is still the 800-pound gorilla because of how much the average person is exposed to it, Papper said. "However, that is quickly evolving. When we combine time spent on the Web, using e-mail, instant messaging and software such as word processing, the computer eclipses all other media with the single exception of television." For more information about the research, visit www.bsu.edu/cmd/insightresearch

New Photoshop program improves photo organization

Photoshop Elements 4.0 hit the shelves last week with a score of improvements, including some that make it easier to find pictures of people you want and easier to edit out people you don't.

Elements 4.0, Photoshop's hobbyist-level photo-editing and organizing program, has improved its tagging system, which lets users file photos under multiple categories - for example, under the names of people in the photo and the place it was taken.

It has added a new command called face tags that will find faces in a collection of photos and display them as individual thumbnail closeups so they can be categorized as a batch.

This version makes it easier to cut and paste complex images with the new "magic extractor," a tool that lets you produce a neat cutout by very loosely tracing inside the figure you want to remove, then tracing a second line just outside the figure. The program also has a white-balance feature that adjusts color based on skin tone, and has automated red-eye reduction that spots glowing orbs and corrects them when you import images.

Elements 4.0 is available for $99 or, bundled with a new version of Adobe's movie-editing program, Premier Elements 2.0, for $149.

Mainstream ads find it harder to get through

Technology is making it easier to ignore mainstream media advertising. Instead, consumers are using Web logs, mobile messaging, comparison-shopping Web sites and word of mouth to make buying decisions, according to Forrester Research Inc.

Data released by the company reported 10 percent of consumers read blogs at least once a week, compared with 5 percent a year ago. Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, feeds are used by 6 percent, compared with 2 percent in 2004.

"Technology has given consumers an option to tune businesses out, and tune each other in," said Chris Charron, a Forrester vice president. "On the flip side, technology has given businesses an opportunity to gain greater customer insights at a lower cost," by monitoring blogs and Web sites and message boards "to uncover consumer insight and accelerate the innovation of products, services and design," he said.

Microsoft bumps up salaries, bonuses for top brass

Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest softwaremaker, increased the amount it pays chairman Bill Gates, chief executive Steve Ballmer and other top officials.

Ballmer and Gates each will get a $620,000 annual salary, and they each received a $400,000 bonus in fiscal 2005, the company said in a regulatory filing.

High-speed Internet connections top 60 percent level

More than 60 percent of Americans who use the Internet at home now do so with a high-speed connection, a new study finds.

That's a jump from 51 percent a year ago. Nielsen/NetRatings says 86-million Internet users surfed the Web on home broadband connections in August.

Broadband use has grown steadily in the United States as prices fall and more video and other bandwidth-intense materials are available online.

"This continuing increase in broadband use is an essential step in a maturing Internet industry," said Charles Buchwalter, the research firm's vice president of client analytics. Broadband users tend to spend more time and money online, he said.

Join discussion on Tech Times blog

Join Times personal technology editor Dave Gussow, left, at the Tech Times blog (www.sptimes.com/blogs/tech) for updates on tech news of the day and links to interesting sites. Readers are invited to post comments and questions there, too.

--Compiled from staff and wire reports.

[Last modified October 3, 2005, 01:15:16]


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