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Those of us with Treo models such as the 650, 700p, and 700w are no longer forced to search for stand-alone Bluetooth GPS receiver to turn a Palm smartphone into a car navigation tool. Palm has been working with the popular GPS hardware maker TomTom on the Palm GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition, which just became available for the latest Treo models. It includes every accessory a Treo owner needs to mount their phone in the car: a cradle, a charger, a Bluetooth GPS receiver and a 1GB SD card pre-loaded with TomTom's version 6 software (which isn't available anywhere else). This latest package has some very appreciated new features such as the abillity to plan trips based on arrival time and constant monitoring of speed limits to prevent that trip being cut short by the police. The GPS Navigator package ships for $299 without a phone.
In May, CBS announced a service called Innertube, which would let Internet users watch the network's TV shows for free through a Web portal. Its original form sheltered CBS' main shows from the Internet and instead relied on original shows as well as TV programming outside of prime time. Innertube's positive reception and competition from other networks has led the broadcaster to finally make some of its star attractions available through the site. As of September, easily recognized shows such as CSI and Survivor will be available to stream online for four weeks after each episode's broadcast, starting the morning after a given episode has aired. CBS also vows that each episode will be free to stream with a "limited" use of commercials to help address costs.
The ideal home theater PC for many users would both blend into the collection of electronics that accompanies the TV as well as offer genuine performance for games and other high-demand software. Navio has recently given word about what could be one of the better balances struck between subtlety and high-end computer hardware. Its new 902T2 living room PC is undoubtedly ready for both tasks. An integrated HDTV tuner lets it accept the HD feeds you would expect from such a system, while a 7-inch touchscreen should let you manage stored media without interrupting shows. Accordingly, a full 1TB of storage and 2GB of RAM should prevent it from running out of cache or storage space in the near future. 3D performance is clearly above average courtesy of a GeForce 7900 GTX and the available room for a second video card (SLI is the implied option, but not stated). Perhaps the only disappointments are the choice of processor and the cost: a dual-core Pentium 4 in mid-2006 is merely adequate, and at $4995 buyers will likely need to make Navio's system their only computer.
Carrier-based retail stores are not a new concept; neither are the recent Nokia and Samsung stores that showcase the cellphones themselves. Helio, however, will likely be the very first MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) to have a retail presence of its own. The young provider says it plans to open its first store in Santa Monica during October, followed by others in San Diego, Palo Alto, Denver, and New York City. Without a physical infrastructure to support, Helio has shifted its emphasis to promoting its phones and the lifestyle associated with them. Each store will have an ultra-modern look (pictured) that resembles the airy, metal and glass look of many Apple stores. It will also formalize Apple's largely unrestricted store browsing through a lounge intended to draw in younger users who want to access the Internet and socialize.
Perpendicular recording technology is quickly advancing the capacity of hard drives, which up until recently had been mired at the 500GB mark. Seagate's 750GB drive leapt ahead of this barrier, but before the year is over that new record will be surpassed yet again. Hitachi should have a 1TB hard drive ready for the market before the end of the year, according to company senior vice president Bill Healy. The drive would be a 3.5-inch drive of the sort typically found in home computers. Additionally, Hitachi is not limiting itself to conventional technology. Holographic removable storage will arrive this year in a 300GB write-once format, with larger capcacities and rewriting set to arrive in later years.
Smartphones have been taking on increasingly complex tasks; even so, they are ultimately compromises. Whether it be the Danger Sidekick or a Palm Treo, the keyboard is often very limited and the display rarely useful for real work. The German company ROAD, a recent startup, has aggressively claimed that its new handyPC s101 is not just a good smartphone, but better than any smartphone through its design and software. When closed, the handyPC has the controls of a candybar phone, complete with regular-size buttons. Open the phone, however, and there is a very different device underneath. The inside is effectively a small PC: a 640x240 screen and a 63-key keyboard let you use as a much more comfortable environment than usual for e-mail, web browsing, and viewing Microsoft Office files. It currently uses a Linux-based interface it plans to let other manufacturers use. The company is also set to ship in versions with Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems as well. Few other details have been made public; the company is expected to reveal more in September at the IFA conference in Berlin. Photos of the inside and outside are available after the jump.
GPS software exists for multiple platforms at this point, including cellphones and PDAs. While the latter might soon change, not everyone would care to replace their phone just to add positioning. There may be a solution in RoyalDigital's new BS4100 receiver. Its sole purpose is to act as a GPS receiver through Bluetooth for any hardware that can make the connection. The receiver uses Bluetooth 2.0 and can receive power through a USB cable. RoyalDigital makes no mention of price or availability; the only option is to submit a quote request. Still, this could be instrumental to users who want accurate map data beyond a dedicated GPS unit.
In contrast to Memorex, whose approach to back-to-school flash drives has been to target the floppy disk's price and shape, Kingston believes the best approach is to make existing flash drive formats more entertaining. Its new DataTraveller Mini Fun drives can stack together like the familiar brick toys or attach to a keychain. All sizes also include the Big Fish games Atlantis and Magic Vines to entertain younger owners using Windows. Drives are available in different colors depending on capacity: a 256MB model ships in orange, while blue and yellow signify 512MB and 1GB respectively. Prices start at a low $15 for the 256MB model and ends at $33 for 1GB. All of them are available immediately.
There is an abundance of speaker accessories for digital audio players, but in many situations the bulk, cost, and power can be excessive: few listeners at work can afford to buy or carry a speaker set for the office only to turn down the volume for coworkers. At least one manufacturer has addressed the cost issue, but now the Samsung YP-K5 could make it trivially easy to carry a speaker set with you that should offer just enough volume for the workplace. Currently available only in Korea, the new player hides an actual speaker behind a minimalist black exterior and can slide it out for those times when your player serves as a desk radio. More information and a full photo after the jump.
Earlier in the month, Sirius had publically stated that it would announce a truly live satellite radio later in the month, though it would not provide any further details. However, the electronics retailer Crutchfield has prematurely revealed the details of that radio through the latest issue of the company's catalog. The Stiletto, as the radio is known, has at least two unique features that may give it an edge over XM-ready players such as the Pioneer Inno. One key feature is the set of antennas built into the included headphones that promise better reception than the internal antenna on other players. Another useful feature is integrated WiFi: a Stiletto user can stream satellite radio to computers if within range of a WiFi access point. A final and crucial element revealed in the leak is news about the launch itself: the Stiletto will ship on September 1st for $399.
iRiver has certainly felt the pressure of the iPod nano on its flash-based music player lineup, but the Korean brand is still very much prepared to compete with Apple on terms that the latter can't yet match. The newly released 2GB version of iRiver's T10 player is a quintessential example of this in action. This new model has iRiver's typically broad audio format support (including OGG) as well as FM tuning and FM/voice recording. More significantly, iRiver is determined to compete aggressively on price: in addition to selling the 2GB model for a surprisingly low $150, iRiver is also letting buyers choose a free Audible book at the same time. The new T10 is available immediately.
Conventional CRT displays may still deliver the best subjective color accuracy for most viewers, but the gap between this and flat-panel technology is quickly narrowing. One technique for improving the color output is known as "deep color:" instead of the 16.7 million colors we see in current 24-bit output, deep color allows for billions of colors onscreen at anywhere from 30-bit to 48-bit quality. Silicon Image today announced new receivers and transmitters for HDMI 1.3, the first video cable format that explicitly supports deep color. The increased accuracy means that even LCDs, which have habitually poor black reproduction and occasional instances of color banding (where color changes are abrupt when they should be subtle), should display a more accurate picture if they and their source have deep color hardware. Sony's PlayStation 3, which includes HDMI 1.3, should take advantage of not just the extra color accuracy but also better frame rates, even at a full 1080p resolution. Other media players and HDTVs using Silicon Image's hardware are expected to ship by the end of the year.
A distinct advantage Blu-Ray initially claimed over HD DVD was the ability to write to disc: the initial specifications of the former included recording as a standard feature for computer-based drives. HD DVD was initially read-only; however, with the imminent release of HD DVD-R drives the competition will soon become fierce. Memorex is the first manufacturer to provide recordable media for those new drives. The company today announced that it has begun shipping the first HD DVD-R discs to stores. These write-once discs are single-layer media that can hold up to 15GB of data each. Memorex also said it would have HD DVD-RW discs ready for the fourth quarter. At $20 per disc, HD DVD-R is considerably more expensive than regular DVD but slightly less expensive than recordable Blu-Ray media.
Though Dell previously issued a battery recall at the end of 2005, the company has been under increasing scrutiny for numerous reports of its laptops' batteries overheating and catching fire with little warning. Regardless of whether or not the reports were evidence of a systemic flaw in the manufacturing process, Dell is taking preventative measures and has issued an unprecedented recall of 4.1 million batteries used in its laptops of recent years. The models affected include many Inspiron, Latitude, Precision, and XPS systems. Some batteries sold apart from laptops are also affected. Dell is asking anyone whose hardware is affected to visit the official battery recall website or call the company, and to immediately stop using defective batteries once replacements are shipping.
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