TechGear: An iPhone without the phone

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Reports from Taiwan suggest that Apple may launch next month a new iPod that looks, feels and works like an iPhone, but without the phone part.

DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based publication that often leaks details about local companies that make electronic components for companies worldwide, says Taiwan-based Wintek has won a large touchscreen display contract for Apple's next media player.

Other reports suggest the next-generation iPod could come out as late as January, which would allow the iPhone to dominate 2007 holiday sales.

If Apple does ship an iPhone-like iPod, it would likely prove popular. Millions want the advanced, multitouch interface of the iPhone, but balk at moving to AT&T, dumping their 80GB iPods for 8GB iPhones, or moving from a 3G phone to EDGE data speeds.

Assuming new iPods run OS X as rumored, and come in at reasonable prices (such as under $300 as one analyst predicted) Apple would probably kill stand-alone DVD movie-player gadgets for good.

The downside for Apple might be damage to iPhone sales. A next-gen iPod could also create a conundrum for iPhone users who bought the expensive phone for the iPod functionality, which will likely be superior in the stand-alone iPod.

Free software gives PC access from iPhone

An independent developer named Nate True modified an open-source application that provides remote access to a PC desktop to work on Apple iPhones. The result is WebVNC, the first remote-desktop application for the iPhone. The application, which is free, reportedly works over both EDGE and Wi-Fi iPhone connections. Once connected, you can use your desktop PC from anywhere, and even zoom and pan on the desktop.

Gadget puts cell calls on landline

IntelliTouch's new XLINK box employs Bluetooth to let you use a landline phone to take the calls from up to three cell phones. It's ideal for people who don't want to carry cell phones at home, and especially those with more than one cell phone. Caller ID information is pushed to the home phone's display, and enables the use of cell phone features like voice dialing, speed dialing and voicemail access, all from the landline phone.

Google Maps mashups for the rest of us

Google's new "Mapplets," which are customizable widgets, help non-developers create Google Maps "mashups" that combine one kind of data with Google mapping info.

Google lets users overlay data on personalized maps

Start-up unveils anti-malware browsing add-on

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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