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Smaller camera manufacturers are also announcing new models this Thursday in preparation for the Photokina expo. Ricoh today sends word of its new Caplio R5 point-and-shoot camera, an update to the prior R4. Though it offers the increasingly common blend of a 7.2 megapixel sensor and 2.5-inch LCD, the new Caplio stands out courtesy of unique optics. It boasts a 28-200mm wide-angle lens with an impressive 7.1X optical zoom, eliminating some of the traditional barriers to quality photos in compact cameras. The R5 can also achieve ISO 1600 sensitivity at full resolution and has image stabilization to help with difficult shots. Neither a price or release date has been set, though it will likely arrive in stores this Fall. A full photo of the camera in an optional red shell is available after the jump.
In late February of this year, a blogger reported that Apple denied his bulk order of Mac minis for his server colocation company that depends primarily on the small systems for its business. Days later, Apple followed suit by updating the Mac mini with Intel processors. This pattern is beginning again, says the same blogger on his website. While trying to order a large number of Mac minis through a reseller, he was told that the store was not allowed to place new bulk orders until after Labor Day, strongly implying that new Mac minis would be announced during that future timeframe. This coincides with the expected broader availability at that time of Core 2 Duo mobile chips from Intel, which are likely to form the basis of a Mac mini update.
Professional photographers often choose CompactFlash cards over the Secure Digital format due to transfer speeds. The latter is often considerably slower than its larger rival, severely limiting the burst rate for photos or the extraction of those photos after a completed shoot. Toshiba seeks to change this perception by releasing a new line of high-speed SD cards that narrow the considerable gap between CF and SD. Starting this fall, Toshiba will ship SD cards in its new "ultra high-speed" series that meet the newly-established Class 6 transfer rate, which signifies a minimum 6MB per second when the cards are plugged into devices that can match their speed. These cards will also reach burst speeds of 20MB per second in ideal conditions. The first models range between 512MB and 2GB in capacity and will ship to Japan in October, with international shipments following in November.
Shortly after Apple issued its own battery recall amid concerns that it too was affected by the Sony lithium-ion battery problems plaguing Dell, the Japanese government on Thursday ordered Dell and Sony to study the potential design flaws that have destroyed numerous laptops through battery fires. Both companies are expected to submit reports to the Japanese trade ministry by the end of August that identify the root causes of the fires and explain the steps each company will take to avoid future incidents. The companies also face a potential fine under Japan consumer laws should they be unwilling to meet the deadline. Additionally, other Japanese electronics firms were advised to verify their own battery quality as a safety measure.
As a further move to diversify its content and offer free services in place of paid Internet access, AOL today said it would begin selling full-length movies and television shows through its portal website. The programming available through the initial version of the service will include content from Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Pricing will be more flexible than the previously announced Fox service, ranging between $10 and $20 for movies and $2 per television episode. Some content from Sony will be available for free with built-in advertising. Buyers cannot burn to DVD - often cited as a significant obstacle to movie service adoption - but can transfer movies to a combination of up to 4 computers or portable media players for movies and 10 for television shows. Currently limited to Windows PCs and media players that support the protected Windows Media Video format, AOL's new video offerings are available immediately.
Recent audio player designs from East Asia have centered around a reduction in every element beyond the screen, such as iRiver's designs that remove all visible controls from the front face. The Chinese manufacturer MobiBLU, already known for this technique through its DAH-1500 cube player, will soon release a larger player that still retains a diminutive size relative to its display. Called the BOXON, not much is known about the player outside of its native China. It has straightforward functionality as an MP3 and FM radio player with 256MB of flash storage. As is often the case with MobiBLU, its signature is the design: all the physical controls are at the top or back of the player, leaving much more room for a 1.7-inch OLED screen facing the listener. Details of a North American release are unknown, though the player is likely to appear on this continent following the relative success of the company's earlier players.
Logitech today announced its new Revolution line of cordless laser mice targeted at computer users working with large documents. All Revolution models feature a scroll wheel that can be toggled between regular click scrolling and a free-spin mode that can scroll through as many as 10,000 Excel sheets (or similar files) through a single push. They also implement a One-Touch search button that will look up words under the mouse cursor. Two mice define the current lineup: the $100 MX Revolution is a desktop mouse with a side wheel for quickling scrolling between documents or programs, while the pictured VX Revolution at $80 is a laptop mouse with document zoom buttons and a built-in slot to stow the USB wireless receiver when traveling. Both models are shipping today and support MacOS X as well as Windows. Full-size photos are available after the jump.
Under considerable pressure to complete Windows Vista in time for its scheduled October release to manufacturing, Microsoft has already cut a number of features from the upcoming OS, including the Avalon presentation layer and WinFS file system. The latest feature to be removed from Vista is support for full Blu-Ray and HD DVD movie playback in the 32-bit version, reports APC Magazine. At the Tech.Ed 2006 conference in Sydney, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Steve Riley revealed that only the 64-bit version of Vista will play protected video in either optical format at the full 1080p resolution. "The media companies asked us to do this," said Riley, citing anxieties at movie studios about the ability of the 32-bit version of Windows to run unsigned code at the kernel level that can override copy-protection. Users will need to use the 64-bit version of Vista, which may not support hardware that requires unsigned drivers, to enjoy video at full quality. APC predicts that Microsoft's decision will frustrate the many owners who intend to upgrade their existing 32-bit PCs next year.
FujiFilm adds to the wide range of Photokina-related announcements today with the introduction of the FinePix S9100 'prosumer' camera. Known as the S9600 internationally, the S9100 advances over the earlier S9000 through the use of a 9 megapixel sensor, 10.7X optical zoom, and an expanded 2-inch swivel LCD. Its ISO range has been extended as low as 80 for improved photos in bright scenes, while the autofocus response and shutter lag have been quickened to provider sharper photos of fast-moving subjects or at night. An intelligent flash system similarly helps eliminate lighting problems in low-light situations. The S9100 is set to release in the UK during October 2006 for an undetermined price and should see a North American introduction soon. Profile images of the front and back are available after the jump.
Countering Canon's Fall 2006 camera line, Nikon today announced five new cameras in its point-and-shoot Coolpix line. At the entry level are the L5 and L6: the former is a 6 megapixel camera with 5X optical zoom, while the latter sports a 7.2 megapixel sensor and long 1000-shot battery life (though it only offers 3X optical zoom). Also unveiled were the ultra-compact S7c, a 7.1 megapixel camera with image stabilization; the more basic S9 with 6 megapixels, 2.5-inch LCD, and no stabilization; and lastly the S10, which features the 6 megapixels and 10X swivel lens of the previous S4 but adds image stablization and better ISO ranges. All five Coolpix models will be ready to ship in September in time for the Photokina expo. Click through for photos of the L5, S7c, and S10.
Still more camera announcements are arriving in the month preceding the Photokina show in Cologne. Canon today expanded its camera line to include three higher-end models in the A series. The A630 and A640 use 8 and 10 megapixel sensors respectively. Both feature 4X optical zoom, larger 2.5-inch LCDs, a Safety Zoom that limits digital zoom to maintain quality, and a Digital Tele-Converter that simulates a telephoto lens. At the top of the A series is the A710 IS, the first A model to feature image stabilization. It adds 6X optical zoom and a wide-angle 2.5-inch screen. Finally, Canon also unveiled the highly anticipated EOS-400D, better known in North America as the successor to the Digital Rebel XT. The new model improves through a 10.1 megapixel sensor, a larger 2.5-inch LCD, automatic dust removal, and a dramatically increased burst speed of up to 27 large JPEG (or 10 RAW) shots at 3 frames per second. Pricing and availability is not available at this time, but expect all four cameras to replace their predecessors by Photokina in late September for approximately the same price as current equivalents. See photos of the A630, A710 IS, and EOS-400D after the jump.
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