We take a look at the key technology news and events in March
The month started with the end of the Pirate Bay trial, in which four Swedish men were accused of copyright theft. Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom, who run the file-sharing web site, face a possible two years in prison and a damage claim of millions of pounds if convicted. A verdict is due in April.
There were two major Microsoft announcements in March, both around Internet Explorer. First up was the news that Windows 7 users might be able to remove IE8 from the operating system, a feature initially spotted by some eagle-eyed beta testers. Microsoft confirmed the reports were true, but also clarified that applications such as IE8 and Windows Media Player would not be removed from Windows 7 systems, but instead would be hidden from view. Later in the month, Microsoft released the full version of IE8. According to a vnunet.com poll, 15 per cent of our readers have currently installed the latest version and are happy with the results.
Scientists at MIT revealed they had developed a new design for lithium batteries that could cut recharge times down to seconds. Traditional lithium batteries dispense power slowly, but also charge slowly because of perceived limitations in the lithium itself. The team at MIT found that the problem lies not in the lithium, but in the substrate around it.
The world wide web hit 20 this month. In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern), wrote his Information Management: A Proposal document, which contained the original proposal for the web.
Dell started taking orders for its Adamo laptop, which it claims is the world's thinnest at about 16.4mm thick. Adamo was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, and is the first product in an entire Adamo line that will feature new design aesthetics, according to Dell.
Apple fleshed out the contents of its upcoming iPhone software update. The company will first release the iPhone 3.0 package as a beta version for developers, and is hoping to have the update available for consumers this summer. New features include support for multimedia messaging and the ability to cut and paste text, the lack of which has been a common gripe with iPhone owners.
IBM was reported to be in talks to buy Sun Microsystems, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. Rumours of the acquisition, which could dramatically bolster IBM's market share in the server space, are still rumbling on though IBM and Sun have yet to confirm the reports.
Google launched its Street View photo mapping tool in the UK in March, and hit problems straightaway. Within a couple of days of the launch, the search giant had already been forced to pull images from its Google Maps site as a number of users registered privacy complaints after identifying images of themselves.
BT announced the new locations for its deployment of next-generation fibre optic broadband connectivity. The service will be implemented by BT’s local access division Openreach at 29 exchanges, with the majority of the locations being urban, including parts of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Greater Manchester. The process involves laying fibre to the green street cabinets used for aggregating phone and copper broadband connections to residential customers' local exchanges.
Last but certainly not least, Intel waited until right at the end of March to launch its first Nehalem-based Xeon chips for servers and workstations. The processors aim to bring increased performance and greater power efficiency in the biggest overhaul of the Xeon platform for years. The first wave consists of the Xeon 5500 series for dual socket systems, and the Xeon 3500 targeting single socket systems.