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The PC enthusiast crowd is arguably hunting for an iconic computer: one that so clearly escapes the mundane box shape that others simply have to notice. Its design may not have universal appeal, but the Maingear Prysma PC can certainly promise a unique design. The pyramid-shaped case includes a TV tuner and a Media Center remote, both of which will let owners use the Prysma as the hub of a particularly exotic home theater. The distinctive shape does carry a price: $1958 is the minimum barrier for entry and nets the buyer a dual-core Pentium 4, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and the aforementioned tuner in either a black or silver case. Brighter colors such as the red pictured are available at an extra cost.
Phone customers are used to cellphone manufacturers touting the thinness of their phones. LG has taken a slightly different approach: their new KG320 cellphone is still quite thin at just over 0.4 inches, the company can also contend that the phone also makes very efficient use of the available space. A 1.8-inch screen occupies most of the upper half while the keypad at the bottom runs from edge to edge. Its features are complete if no longer advanced, with 128 MB of onboard memory, Bluetooth, and AAC/MP3 music playback. The KG320 is available now in Europe for the equivalent of $400 US without a contract. North American carriers haven't announced their intent to offer the phone, though LG's recent success with the Chocolate in the US could be very influential.
Users who need to connect to the Internet through EDGE now have their own USB adapter to complement the one recently made available for EVDO customers. German manufacturer Falcom has recently produced the SAMBA 75 USB adapter, which gives users a data connection through EDGE as well as GSM or GPRS when available. The SIM card slot lets users with existing cellphone EDGE connections carry over their settings with a minimum of effort. There is no word on whether Macs are supported, but the included drivers are for Windows only. Pricing and availablity are not listed.
It can be hard to use a computer regularly without at least a few items close at hand: notes and pens may be as important as their on-screen equivalents. Their necessity can often crowd out a desk environment, especially when space is already tight. This is why even a simple accessory such as a hybrid keyboard organizer can be so appreciated. The latest myKeyO keyboard lifts up to reveal a tray large enough for CDs and other similarly-sized objects. It's USB-based and should thus work with both Macs and PCs, and includes dedicated playback controls as well as a scroll wheel. Wired and wireless versions of the new version ship in the Fall for $35 and $50 respectively.
During the interval preceding the Mac Pro announcement, the question was immediately raised as to whether or not Apple would compete aggressively on price. The company is known for characteristically high professional system pricing and was about to enter a market where prices were already higher than those of the Power Mac line. Recent comparisons (including those from Apple) have demonstrated that Mac Pro pricing undercuts workstations from large manufacturers such as Dell. What is more surprising is the new revelation that Mac Pro pricing also fares well against home-built PCs with identical hardware, says AnandTech. In addition to a detailed comparison of the new system against its G5-based predecessor, Anand finds that even a custom-assembled system (which avoids factory assembly and software costs) using equivalent parts is more expensive than Apple pricing. Apple's main challenge now, according to the author, is to offer a system beneath the Mac Pro that offers its advantages without the added cost of quad Xeons or expensive memory.
YouTube has earned a decidedly mixed reputation based on its largely neutral approach to user-submitted videos. As a home for amateur video, few would doubt its claim as the unquestioned champion: the company pride itself on the knowledge that 60% of Internet videos are now seen through YouTube. The ease of uploading videos, however, has virtually ensured that pirated material appears on the company's pages despite almost constant cooperation with providers who want their ads and shows removed. This may change soon, says YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. Negotiations are currently underway with major labels to provide as many music videos as possible legitimately and for free to all users - with the ultimate goal of cataloging all music videos ever made. The deal will ideally take between 6 to 18 months to complete and should establish YouTube as a rival not just to Google Video, but also music TV stations such as MTV.
Cellphone software development is usually done under the close supervision of either a major OS developer or the cellphone manufacturer itself. Corporate reasoning usually claims that this is for the sake of integration, but the Norwegian software developer TROLLTECH believes that an open development environment will improve even the most basic aspects of phone software. As part of its claim, the company unveiled the Qtopia Greenphone, a cellphone which is as much as a test platform for new software as it is functional hardware. Running the Linux-based Qtopia operating system, the Greenphone can load new software written for it through an open-source developer kit or use preloaded code to work without any further effort. As a phone, the device is fairly capable: it runs on GSM networks and features Bluetooth, 128MB of built-in flash (with a miniSD slot for more), and a camera. Developers and those who are simply interested in the phone itself can get one from the company in mid-September for a tentative price of $700 through the Qtopia mailing list. See the full phone after the jump.
Just a day after Memorex began shipping the first recordable HD DVD discs to stores, Sony has countered with an increase in the capacity of Blu-Ray media. The company announced today that it has begun shipping the very first dual-layer, 50GB Blu-Ray discs in the US. While they are write-once discs and can burn at a maximum 2X speed, the capacity allows for massive quantities of data: Sony claims that 4 hours of HD video will fit on a single disc. Pricing is in line with the costly earlier releases of single-layer 25GB media by Sony and other manufacturers: expect to pay roughly $1 per gigabyte, or about $48 for an individual 50GB disc.
Venturing to a class only to find that it was cancelled is a frequent (if bittersweet) occurrence for college and university students - but if Penn State's new text message service thrives, those students with cellphones may save valuable time when weather or other problems affect their schedules. Called PSUTXT, the service launched for the new school year sends phone users SMS text messages about concerts, emergencies, and sports depending on their subscription choices at the PSU Live site. Penn State has been known as a technically adept university for the past several years, offering some of the first e-mail mailing lists and official school podcasts.
Rumors in the past have frequently suggested that Apple would preload special editions of its iPods with songs and videos. Those claims never bore fruit, but a developer for Microsoft's upcoming Zune player has confirmed that the device will, in fact, ship preloaded with both music and video as a way of spurring sales. Content will come from groups such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Cansei de Ser Sexy, and Hot Chip. In many cases, audio and video will both be available for a given artist. This also indicates that Microsoft's software will allow users to transfer music from the player to the computer, a feature music labels have historically refused on the grounds that it would encourage piracy.
Anyone with the opportunity to own a large flat-panel TV has felt the pressure to make the rest of their home theater just as streamlined as the display at its center. Samsung wants to facilitate this through a new 50-inch plasma display just introduced by the company in Korea. The SPD-50P7HDT's primary feature is a wireless connection that lets you connect DVD players or other peripherals without having to run cables directly to the set. There's no information on whether or not this set will arrive in North America, but Samsung does frequently export its native TV designs here. The Korean price of the translates to a steep $4972 US. See a full photo after the jump to decide whether or not a cable-free display is worth the price.
Razer is most commonly associated with gaming mice and other hardware focused on the PC enthusiast crowd. The company recently launched its Pro|Solutions line as a way of overcoming its reputation as a niche manufacturer. A sigificant new addition to the lineup arrives soon with the introduction of the Pro|Type multimedia keyboard. Though its functionality is similar to other high-end keyboards, including dedicated media buttons and 10 programmable keys, what distinguishes this model is its centerpiece iPod dock. Users can not only charge and sync their iPod through the keyboard, but also play its music through a line-out jack. The keyboard is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems; there is no word on either pricing or availability.
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