News Archive for 06/08/25

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Microsoft to offer iDisk-like online storage

08/25, 4:45pm

Microsoft Live Drive

In addition to prior news that 32-bit versions of Windows Vista would be unable to play protected Blu-Ray or HD DVD natively, the Australian Tech.Ed 2006 conference also marked Microsoft's announcement of an online storage service as part of its recent Windows Live focus, says ZDNet. Bearing a strong similarity to Apple's iDisk included with .Mac, Microsoft's Live Drive will offer 2GB of storage accessible to any computer through a web browser or as a virtual drive in Windows Vista. Subscribers will have the option of extra storage at an additional price. Whether or not auto-synchronization or application-specific integration will also be features has not yet been revealed.

Complete New Yorker Portable Hard Drive

08/25, 4:20pm

New Yorker Hard Drive

Electronic catalogs of periodicals are rarely successful in the same way that encyclopedias can be, simply through the inherent limitations of the storage format: periodicals rarely stop publication after a collection is released, leaving buyers of CD and DVD archives with a catalog already outdated before it arrived at the door. The famous New Yorker has chosen the much more pragmatic route of an external hard drive. Connecting through USB 2, the 80GB drive currently stores every New Yorker issue from February 1925 through to April 2006, images included. Importantly, that data is not static - owners can receive updates that add more recent issues to the drive and take advantage of free storage space. Complete New Yorker drives work with both MacOS X and Windows 2000/XP and are shipping today for $299.

LG Philips produces 14-inch eBook paper

08/25, 3:55pm

LG Philips 14-inch eBook

A mass migration to eBooks has generally been impractical with current technology. Novels and other forms of writing that rarely change are less expensive to publish in traditional form; newspapers and journals, which change often, need larger digital paper sizes than current technology can deliver. LG Philips has helped remove one of those barriers with the announcement that it can now produce 14-inch eBook sheets. Capable of a WXGA resolution (approximately 1280x800), these flexible sheets would be large enough to display enough text at once that electronic newspapers would become an option. The response time is still too slow to allow for video, but when LG Philips' design leaves the prototype phase it may signal a genuine shift in how we read away from the computer.

MiniBlaster for iPod nano

08/25, 3:10pm

MiniBlaster iPod Speakers

iPod nano owners who need a truly portable speaker system now have an option that is almost as viable as integrating the speakers into the player itself. The new jLab MiniBlaster for iPod nano is a cradle that places a small 1-watt pair of stereo speakers directly behind the nano, giving owners the ability to carry both the iPod and the speakers in a single handheld unit. Playback lasts for up to 10 hours at maximum volume using four AAA batteries; a power adapter is also included for plugging into a wall outlet. An auxiliary input jack is present for other audio sources, as is a silicone skin to protect the iPod from scratches or the weather. The MiniBlaster is available from the company website for $50.

Plextor releases world's smallest external DVD writer

08/25, 2:30pm

Plextor PX-608CU Writer

The considerable bulk of external disc burners limits their usefuless to laptop users, often turning the drives into extensions of a home setup rather than portable tools. This may change with a new optical drive from Plextor. The PX-608CU drive will be the world's smallest DVD writer, according to its manufacturer. At 0.6 inches high and 8.8 ounces in weight, the new writer is compact enough to be carried alongside a laptop without consuming significantly more space. It is powered completely through the USB 2 interface, obviating the need for a separate power cable, and can burn dual-layer DVDs in addition to a maximum 8X single-layer recording speed. Shipments of the PX-608CU begin in October for an undetermined price.

Pioneer claims Apple plans a Bluetooth iPod adapter

08/25, 1:40pm

Pioneer and iPod Bluetooth

Though few other details have been mentioned, a Pioneer representative claims that Apple will release a Bluetooth adapter for the iPod, according to a story in CarsGuide. The stereo manufacturer's new DEH head unit, which includes a Bluetooth transmitter, is reported in the article as not only connecting to cellphones for hands-free calling but also as supporting audio streaming from iPods. Apple will in turn release a Bluetooth adapter of its own to make this possible, says Pioneer's Michael Broadhurst. While the source is apparently legitimate, it should be noted that such pre-announcements have been historically inaccurate. In February 2005, a Motorola project manager incorrectly told Radio France about a Bluetooth-enabled iPod that never materialized.

Asus R2H adds GPS mapping to the UMPC formula

08/25, 12:30pm

Asus R2H UMPC

Microsoft originally positioned the Ultra Mobile PC as a full computer that would still be useful at those times when neither a laptop nor a smartphone would be very convenient. In practice, the UMPC systems which first launched (such as the Samsung Q1) were disappointments because that roving ability was limited; without a nearby WiFi access point or the option of an EDGE/EVDO adapter, a UMPC was effectively stranded. Asus' first UMPC, the R2H, still goes without mobile broadband but may be very useful thanks to the addition of a GPS receiver in the design, letting users map their progress even in the remotest locations. The performance of the R2H is modest at best - it features a 900MHz Celeron M ULV, 256MB of RAM, and 20-60GB of hard drive space - but it could easily become an essential car navigation tool. Release information is not yet available.

OLPC becomes Children's Machine, increases price

08/25, 12:00pm

Children Machine CM1

The One Laptop Per Child system, which will begin testing in Thailand soon, is rapidly solidifying - though at the customers' expense. Now christened the Children's Machine or CM1, it will be powered by a 400MHz AMD Geode processor and support mesh networking between nearby computers and support voice over IP. However, its technology will initially cost substantially more than MIT had planned: the first models will sell for $140, easily exceeding the $100 target set at the project's beginning. Prices are expected to drop once more units are in circulation and new technologies help lower manufacturing costs.

New Samsung ultra-rich, ultra-sharp mobile displays

08/25, 11:45am

Samsung Mobile Displays

Portable displays are rarely given the same attention as computer monitors or televisions. Ghosting, low resolution, and poor color are still realities for most of us who would try to play games or watch video on these screens. Such limitations may soon come to an end if Samsung's two recent demonstrations in Korea bear fruit. First of these is a 2.4-inch display using AMOLED technology (shown here). As with most OLED displays, the AMOLED eliminates almost all of the drawbacks commonly associated with LCDs. Instead of the 262,000 colors found on most small displays, the AMOLED shows a full 16.7 million. It also has a 10000:1 contrast ratio better than any LCD in existence and eliminates ghosting entirely. If detail is more important, Samsung also unveiled a 2-inch LCD (not shown) with an astounding 640x480 resolution at 16.7 million colors - making it capable of standard NTSC video with no loss in quality. Both new screens are likely to appear in cellphones and portable media players sometime next year.

Samsung T719 becomes first BlackBerry flip-phone

08/25, 11:15am

Samsung T719 BlackBerry

Without exception, every BlackBerry phone to date (including ones yet to be released) has adhered to the candybar format of most smartphones. The new Samsung T719 (pictured) will mark the first time any BlackBerry-capable phone has adopted the flip design so frequently used for cellphones. Though not made by Research In Motion, the T719 can handle BlackBerry "push" e-mail and uses the SureType keypad layout from RIM's own 7100 models, according to Phone Arena. As a phone, Samsung's new entry is quad-band GSM capable and includes Bluetooth, EDGE, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. US customers can already find a preview page for the new phone on T-Mobile's website, where it will go on sale for $300 in the near future.

Zune: confirmed features, Toshiba manufacturing

08/25, 10:50am

Zune Features and Toshiba

Multiple previously rumored features of Microsoft's upcoming Zune player have been revealed, courtesy of recent FCC filings. According to the completed test reports, the Zune player will indeed use a 30GB hard drive, support 802.11g wireless and FM radio, and will stream music to nearby Zune players in addition to letting users bookmark songs they would like to buy later. More surprising, though not completely unexpected, is that Microsoft has not assumed responsibility for manufacturing the Zune as it has for its Xbox consoles: the FCC documentation describes the Zune as the "Toshiba 1089 Portable Media Player," indicating that Microsoft sought the expertise of the Gigabeat series creator for the final product rather than control the entire process itself.

Plasma sales soar, but LCD extends its lead

08/25, 10:25am

Plasma Sales Soar

Television manufacturers had further reason to celebrate today as news was received that plasma television sales have jumped 95 percent over the same time a year ago to a record 2.2 million sets. Panasonic led sales with 28 percent of those sales, followed by LG, Samsung, and Philips. While good news for the companies involved, the report masks the longer-term dangers to the format. A report earlier in the week saw LCD sales expand faster at 135 percent to a much higher 9.4 million units, clearly outpacing plasma. This is in part due to LCD's ability to cater to a wider customer range: plasma technology requires a much larger minimum panel size than does LCD, eliminating plasma as a choice for smaller rooms or price-conscious buyers.

Vertu Constellation: an 'affordable' luxury phone

08/25, 9:05am

Vertu Constellation Phone

Nokia launched the luxury Vertu label with the intent of catering to the most affluent cellphone users possible: those whose phones are as much status symbols as they are hotbeds of technology. To date, the Vertu models have used materials as exotic as diamonds, ruling out all but the wealthiest customers. That will change soon with the introduction of the Constellation line, pictures and details of which have appeared in advance of the official announcement. The Constellation will be Vertu's entry-level phone with a (relatively) subdued level of luxury. Depending on budget and tastes, buyers will have their choice of either gold or steel for the outer shell and multiple choices of leather for the back. One concession to the truly exotic is a screen with a sapphire crystal scratchproof layer. Click through for the phone capabilities themselves and profile photos.

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