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The first company that usually comes to mind when thinking of fashion phones in the US is Motorola; the company has undoubtedly been the champion of aesthetics for the past few years, focusing on minimalism at a time when competitors were obsessed with features alone. Whether due to the ripple effect or just a straightforward attempt to differentiate itself, Alcatel has decided to team up with ELLE Magazine to produce the GlamPhone, which directly targets those women who see their phone as equal tool and status symbol. The internal specifications are unremarkable at best; what makes this phone is its design. More information and photos after the jump.
Unlike recent moves by other vendors, Roxio is taking steps to make DVD burning of movies both functional and legal. The software developer today announced Roxio Venue, a program made for recording downloaded movies to DVD while copy-protecting them in such a way that they can be read by regular DVD players. Venue can record using the Content Scrambling System, or CSS - the controversial encryption method used to discourage copying of most DVD movies today. Use of the software is currently limited to online movie providers who need to verify its success rate with their own content, but Roxio says that it will ship Venue to the public at large before the end of the year.
The declaration that EVDO is mobile broadband doesn't always ring true in practice. In theory, current EVDO allows for up to 2.4 Mbps downstream. Most users won't ever reach that speed in practice; Sprint Nextel says users on its network average between 400 and 700 Kbps. This ultimately limits current EVDO to "good enough" broadband that clearly outperforms dial-up, yet which can't truly compare to what land-line users know. Sprint's announcement that it would use Intel's WiMax for its upcoming 4G service is thus particularly welcome. The phone carrier said that the 2007 rollout should give customers much better real-world service than EVDO can offer, delivering between 2 and 4 Mbps depending on signal strength. It should also be less expensive to maintain, which hopefully means lower service rates as well.
News about the clothing first arrived in January, but today a photo surfaced of the iPod-compatible Levi's jeans set to be released in the Fall. Called the RedWire DLX, the set of pants is specifically designed for Apple's digital audio players. One of the side pockets has a slot to hold the iPod and a strap for the player that connects to a set of simple controls on the coin pocket. From there, you can plug in an included set of earbuds and change tracks without having to remove the iPod from your pocket. If you do need to remove the iPod for more advanced functions, the strap keeps the iPod from dropping to the ground. No official pricing has been set.
Airlines are usually skittish about letting passengers use anything that might transmit to the outside world during a flight. That's increasingly at odds with a society that sees a few hours of silence as time wasted. Virgin Atlantic is offering at least a partial solution: in the near future, it will let people onboard its flights send text messages through terminals in the seat backs to ask questions of an answer service on the ground. You'll be able to ask for advice on what entertainment you'll find at your destination, for example. The intent, says Virgin, is to give passengers more to do on their flights than they're used to, and thus more reasons to choose the same airline for the next flight.
Some companies aren't willing to wait for RIM's new 8100 Stealth before they turn the Blackberry into a media-friendly smartphone. SonaMobile today released a beta of bbTV, a video news download service just for Blackberries. In the current incarnation of the service, users can download 1-2 minute news and sports clips to certain Blackberry 7100 and 8700 models. bbTV is currently oriented towards Canadian customers (specifically those using Rogers or Telus), though the operators know there's an interest outside of the core market.
Just recently, it was reported that AMD was going to abandon the ATI name, as official AMD sources had apparently claimed that there was more reason to keep the product names than the brand behind them. Further investigations, however, show the opposite to be true. According to this most recent news, AMD has clarified its position and said that while it intends to keep the AMD brand intact, this doesn't mean that the ATI brand will disappear. The two names will remain distinct for the foreseeable future, and AMD in fact claims that there's a distinct advantage to the ATI name.
News about the player surfaced a few weeks ago, but today Sony officially announced and opened pre-orders for their S2 Sports line of Walkman digital audio players. Following shortly after Apple's Nike+iPod Sport Kit, the S2 also tracks the stats of your runs and uses music to keep you motivated. What makes it unique is that there's no separate receiver needed. The S2 has a built-in sensor that detects your speed and can actually choose from playlists you've made depending on how fast you're moving. You won't have as much control or feedback due to the one-line OLED, though the small tube-shaped design will certainly make it easier to carry. Format support includes Sony's usual bevy of AAC, ATRAC3, MP3 and WMA audio files. If you're interested, Sony will ship both 1GB ($120) and 2GB ($150) versions in September.
Wide-angle shots are often difficult with point-and-shoot cameras. Their small lenses virtually dictate that shots have a narrow focus. Kodak claims that its new 7 megapixel V705 is capable of ultra-wide-angle shots with a 23mm fixed lens that accompanies the regular 39-117mm zoom lens on the unit. Beyond this, the V705 also reflects Kodak's typical emphasis on features: it has anti-blur (image stabilization) technology, on-camera image correction and red-eye reduction, and EasyShare for marking photos you want to e-mail or print later. Pricing hasn't been listed yet, but Kodak expects the camera to be ready in September. A photo of the back is available after the jump.
Lately we've seen a gradually building momentum in the cellphone industry: more and more companies are convinced that an entire music ecosystem can be built around cellphones, one in which you never have to touch a computer (or digital audio player) to get and play back the music you want. The most recent company to throw its hat into the ring is Nokia. This morning, the Finnish brand said it would buy Loudeye, best-known for the OD2 subsidiary that handles the behind-the-scenes infrastructure behind many music stores outside of North America (including the former MyCokeMusic). The obvious conclusion is that Nokia wants to setup its own online store to sell music to cellphone users. This may prove difficult: while phones like the N-series can certainly handle music, the direct-download stores that exist are usually linked to service providers rather than phone brands. Nokia may have to open its stores to non-Nokia phones if it wants maximum exposure, since it's doubtful that carriers like Verizon will allow Nokia's store and their own to coexist on the same phone.
The notion of streaming music wirelessly to audio systems throughout the house isn't new, but it typically comes with strings attached: you're often tied to one particular jukebox program and the formats associated with it, or else you need to buy complete additional models if there's more than one audio system involved. Logitech's $250 Wireless DJ for PCs promises better: while the custom software needed is Windows-only, it isn't jukebox in itself; instead, it aggregates the music libraries of several different apps (including iTunes, Musicmatch, and Windows Media Player) and streams all of them regardless of format. If you need to expand, you only need an add-on receiver for $80. We'll see the Wireless DJ in stores late in September.
The camera news continues today with the announcement of the Optio W20 camera from Pentax. Like its predecessor the W10, the W20 is meant for trips to the beach or pool where it would be too dangerous to risk dropping most other cameras in the water. To that end, the W20 will keep its internals dry as deep as 1.5 meters and can be used continuously underwater for half an hour. It's better on land as well: the sensor has sharpened up from 6 megapixels to 7. The camera has a raft of features to help novices take better pictures, such as a blur reduction mode that auto-adjusts ISO levels for low light and multiple auto-focus modes for action shots and portraits. There's no official word on pricing or availabilty, but it should roughly match the $300 price of the W10. See larger photos of the front and back after the jump.
Anyone who's interested in ultra-slim cameras probably knows Casio's Exilim series: the Exilim helped make it cool to keep a camera in your pocket "just in case." The camera maker today launched a full assault on the market with three new models in the line. All three have 7.2-megapixel sensors and feature anti-shake compensation as well as a special eBay Mode - presumably a preset for small but sharp pictures. The entry-level model is the EX-Z70, which gives users a 2.5" LCD and an Easy Mode (automatic settings) for $250. The EX-Z700 at $300 steps it up a notch with a 2.7" LCD, auto-framing to keep moving subjects the center of the photo, and a layout mode that lets you mix photos together that share the same background. Lastly, the $380 ultimate EX-S770 model (pictured) gives you a still-larger 2.8" LCD, the ability to shoot wide-aspect MPEG-4 video clips, and lets you convert text and other documents to JPEG in case you want to see them away from home. All three models are expected to arrive here in September. See a photo of the S770's back (including the document conversion feature) after the jump.
It used to be that a bracelet or a card in your wallet was the only real way to let paramedics know about important medical problems, like asthma or diabetes. But what if your history was more complex, or you needed more information than what a few words on metal or plastic could say? Enter the ICER-2-GO ("In Case of Emergency" Record). It's a simple USB flash drive at heart; what makes it special is the software that accompanies it. You can setup an ICER-2-GO to contain a set of crucial emergency info which is immediately accessible when the drive is plugged in: allergies, blood type, contacts, and medicine histories will be there for anyone with a USB port. It's also a handy drive for equally important but more sensitive data, like business or financial records: the same software can put 256-bit encryption and password protection on anything you'd rather not give out to a stranger. An ICER-2-GO is yours for $150 for both the hardware and software; it's for Windows users only, but it could prevent a potentially serious complication in the emergency room.
Sony has previously tried to attack the iPod's dominance head-on: arguably, much of the current Network Walkman lineup is inspired by the concept that a simple, stylish player is the ticket to the digital audio player market. Today, Sony decided to make an end-run around Apple altogether by striking at the weak spot of many teens and college students: social networking. The Mylo is still very much a media player if you want it to be, since it can handle multiple audio and photo formats as well as MPEG-4 video. There's 1 GB of built-in flash storage and (of course) a Memory Stick Duo slot if you need more. But the Mylo's real selling point is the ability to chat with your friends anywhere you have an 802.11b access point: you can send text messages through Google Talk and Yahoo, make phone calls with Skype, and browse the web through a portable version of Opera (presumably to check your friends' MySpace pages). There's a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that Sony hopes will lure people away from their cellphones and Danger Sidekicks. You'll be able to pick one up in September for about $350 - expensive, but potentially worthwhile if you don't want to be tied to a laptop just to listen to music and send IMs at the same time. See a complete photo after the jump.
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