Economists Report “The Consumer Is Back” – Overall, consumer spending has improved and consumption is growing more than originally anticipated. But the one sour note is that the only major catagory that was down instead of up was electronics and appliances, which was down -1.3%. It is hoped the iPad will provide a boost in this catagory during April. One researcher said there is no denying that consumer spending has perked up considerably in recent months.
LG Joins Linux Foundation – LG Electronics, global leader in consumer electronics and home appliances, has joined The Linux Foundation – a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of the Linux platform. LG hopes to contribute to the shift woards a computing world in which all devices are connected, all the time, and from anywhere. This of course includes the growing number of Internet-capable TVs and other home electronics.
Apple Scores Major Profits – Apple has reported a monster increase in profits – the $3.07 billion – primarily due to the release of the iPad and the pending release of the new iPhone. Net income was up 90% when Wall Street analysts had expected around 37%. During the just-past quarter, Apple sold 2.94 million Macs, 8.75 million iPhones and 10.89 million iPods, and it said it expects sales of the iPhone to increasingly eclipse those of the iPod music player.
New Audio Enhancement Plug-In for Mac Users – Bongiovi Acoustics have an inexpensive miniprogram to bring music and movie sounds to life on your Mac via speakers or headphones. The DPS (Digital Power Station) plug-in delivers improved sounds from the small built-in speakers, simple ear buds or phones, and delivers enhanced sound to a specific playback device with several user options. Sounds to us similar to several technologies offered by SRS Labs. More at www.dpsplugin.com
Secret Meeting On Copyright Theft – Representatives of 37 nations met last week in Australia to work on an international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). But under pressure from the CEO of Australia’s Internet Industry Association, the group was convinced to open their secret negotiations to the public with publication of its draft agreement. The group turned down early suggestions by some members to have member states introduce a three-strikes-you’re-out approach to copyright infringement by Internet subscribers. There was also a petition dubbed the “Wellington Declaration” circulated in both Australia and New Zealand, which quickly drew more than 6000 signatures worldwide to seek more transparency in the ACTA talks. The agreement was not confined entirely to digital copyright theft; it also covered counterfeiting of goods such as luxury baggage, home appliances, medicines and auto spare parts. The organization will move on to Switzerland for their next meeting in June. Then individual nations will hopefully enact legislation to enforce the findings.
New Mobile AV Interface for HDTVs – Several manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba have partnered to develoope a new mobile AV interface to connect mobile devices to HDTVs. The Mobile High-Definition Ling (MHL) Consortium aims to develop a standard to provide 1080p HD video and digital audio over a small cable which also provides power – similar to HDMI connectors, but with a lower pin count than 19. The system will also support HDCP to allow users to play protected content. Apple now offers many high-end devices with HD video output via a Mini HDMI cable.