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Thursday, May 15, 2008, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

WSJ on touch BlackBerry; Intel 4-core; T-Mobile at 100K iPhones

A report by the Wall Street Journal further kindles rumors of a touchscreen BlackBerry going toe-to-toe with the iPhone this year. Meanwhile, T-Mobile Germany reports selling more than 100,000 iPhones since launch, Singapore Airlines offers passengers iPhone- and iPod-friendly in-seat entertainment, and Intel's first quad-core notebook chip may fit systems like the MacBook Pro.

WSJ backs claims of BlackBerry Thunder

Adding to speculation, the Wall Street Journal now says that it, too, has information supporting rumors of a rapidly-nearing launch for the BlackBerry Thunder.

Less non-committal than the original Boy Genius report, the newspaper's report cites anonymous people familiar with the smartphone who agree that the Thunder, also known as the BlackBerry 9500, will natively support both the Verizon and Vodafone wireless networks in addition to shedding a physical keyboard.

Little else is revealed in the Journal's account, though the earlier story would have the phone support both third- and fourth-generation data, despite neither Verizon nor Vodafone planning to debut 4G services for at least a year.

Nonetheless, the report bolsters the initial claims and says to expect a launch in summer that would pit both the Thunder and the Bold against an all but confirmed 3G iPhone.

T-Mobile Germany sells 100,000 iPhones since launch

Deutsche Telekom chief Rene Obermann on Thursday revealed that T-Mobile Germany has sold more than 100,000 iPhones since the Apple handsets first went on sale in November.

The report is the first since the end of January from T-Mobile, when the cellular provider said it had sold 70,000 units — indicating a significant slowdown after the iPhone's first few months in local stores.

Separately, T-Mobile board member Hamid Akhavan says the sales are still "in line" with predictions but admits that a promotional price cut has spiked sales since it was introduced in early April.

Singapore Airlines offers iPhone, iPod ports on flights

US travelers to the city-state of Singapore now have the option of plugging in their iPhone or iPod for most of the trip, Singapore Airlines announced on Thursday.

Effective immediately, certain long-distance flights will include special connectors to plug in dockable Apple devices and feed both audio and video to an in-seat entertainment system dubbed KrisWorld that will also keep the handhelds charged.

The system is intelligent enough to momentarily override audio in the event of a cabin announcement, the airline says, but must be used in Airplane Mode by iPhones to prevent interference.

Service starts with all Airbus A345 flights from Newark, New Jersey but should ultimately include all A340 airliners leaving Los Angeles starting from August and will spread to New York at a later date.

Intel quad-core notebook processor fit for thin systems?

A new report from the Inquirer alleges that Intel has refined the efficiency of its first quad-core mobile processor ahead of its summer release.

Although numerous sources have claimed the 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9300 will chew as much as 45 watts of peak power at its design limits — ruling it out for all but the heftiest notebooks — the British site now says Intel has reduced the processor's power draw to 35 watts without sacrificing its 12MB of Level 2 cache or other features.

The chip is believed to be part of the second wave of processors built for Intel's Centrino 2 platform, which enables a faster 1,066MHz bus speed and better power management, among other new features.

The drop would give it the same power consumption as most Core 2 Duo processors today, expanding the usefulness of the chip to thin-and-light notebooks. The processors in Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro both consume 35 watts.

The cost of the chip, however, still calls into question its suitability for the MacBook Pro. A single QX9300 costs $1,038, or nearly twice as much as the 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo that Apple reserves as a build-to-order option for its premium MacBook Pro models.