- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2009

NEW YORK | Nokia Corp., the world’s largest maker of cell phones, says its first laptop for the U.S. market will cost $300 with a two-year wireless broadband contract from AT&T Inc.

The Finnish company is broadening its product portfolio as cellular broadband access is spreading to more devices. Some wireless carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, sell small laptops known as “netbooks,” subsidizing the price in exchange for two-year contracts.

Nokia’s netbook, the Booklet 3G, will run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 7 software, have a 10-inch screen and weigh 2.8 pounds. It will be sold at Best Buy Inc. stores and online. Orders can be placed beginning Thursday, when Windows 7 launches, and delivery is expected by mid-November.

At $300 after AT&T’s subsidy (or $600 without a contract), the Booklet will be more expensive than other netbooks sold by carriers. AT&T sells netbooks for $200, and Verizon Wireless offers them for $150. Sprint Nextel Corp. briefly offered them for 99 cents.

However, the Booklet will have some features standard netbooks don’t: an aluminum cover, a GPS navigation chip and a 12-hour battery life.

High-quality streaming of music blog’s songs

SAN FRANCISCO | Consumers seem reluctant to sign up for online music services that charge subscription fees, yet a music blogging site is hoping to reel people in by offering unlimited access to a catalog of high-fidelity tunes for $5 a month.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Mog Inc., which launched in 2006, said Wednesday that it plans to roll out Mog All Access before Thanksgiving. The new service includes partnerships with the four major music labels — Universal Music Group, EMI Music, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment — along with thousands of independent labels.

The catalog will initially include more than 5 million tracks, and the company plans to add millions of additional tracks in the coming months.

Mog isn’t necessarily cheaper than similar offerings. Best Buy Inc.-owned Napster, for example, sells a $5-a-month music-streaming pass billed in three-month increments of $15. And since Mog isn’t offering users the opportunity to download tracks from its site, you’ll have to listen to the music on a computer. The company expects to release an iPhone or BlackBerry application this year, possibly both, that will allow downloads on those devices for an expected $12 to $15 per month.

New Wi-Fi technology lets gadgets talk directly

SEATTLE | Starting in mid-2010, new versions of gadgets like cameras, cell phones and computers will be able to talk to each other using Wi-Fi without needing to connect to a wireless network first.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry group, said Wednesday it is nearly finished putting together a Wi-Fi Direct specification, a set of technical “rules” that guide consumer electronics companies that plan to add the new capability.

Kelly Davis-Felner, the Wi-Fi Alliance’s marketing director, said Wi-Fi Direct will make it easier to liberate the mounting gigabytes of digital family photos that are trapped in cameras, smart phones or PCs. Now those gadgets will be able to connect directly to digital photo frames, TVs or printers.

Only one of the gadgets needs to have the new Wi-Fi Direct technology to make a two-way connection work. In one scenario, you could connect a smart phone with Wi-Fi Direct to a laptop and piggyback on its wired Internet connection for a quick e-mail check without tapping your phone’s data plan.

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