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Upon the announcement of Sony's new LS1 PC and TV hybrid, many drew immediate comparisons between its 'floating' design and the 20-inch iMac that preceded it earlier in the year, suggesting that Sony took direct inspiration from Apple's earlier computer. Regardless of the exact inspiration, the two computers are in fact very different, reports CNET. After reviewing the two systems, the news organization notes that the iMac and LS1 are targeted at different users and have distinct advantages over each other. The iMac has superior graphics and is considerably less expensive, but misses the integrated NTSC tuner and recording functionality of the LS1 that let it serve as a true media center. Click through for important considerations beyond the CNET article.
Despite Sony's conspicuous use of the Walkman name in its attempt to dominate the music phone market, its Korean rival Samsung is clearly set on distinguishing itself as the most music-friendly phone brand. Particularly strong evidence of this is the company's upcoming Z610, discovered today in an FCC filing by Czech site iDNES. It bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple's iPod, including a glossy and minimalist white shell with chrome accents and simple music controls on the front. Detailed specifications are not available in the filling; it will be a 3G-capable slider phone with AAC/MP3/WMA music playback, a microSD slot for extra storage, and two cameras for video calls and photography. As FCC updates point to imminent releases, expect the Z610 before the end of the year. Photos of the front and back are available after the jump.
A final but still very significant introduction of laptops using the mobile Core 2 Duo processor comes today courtesy of Gateway's new laptop line. Though its website has yet to update with the new models, the company today announced a series of new models to take advantage of the extra performance. All but its ultraportable NX100 series will see the Core 2 Duo in their lineup and start at 1.66GHz. A new line of M-series workstation laptops is making its debut at the same time: though little was made public in the announcement, the line will start with the 14-inch M255-E that uses a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, and 80GB of hard drive space. Other M versions will use processors between 1.83GHz and 2.16GHz. Gateway's new computers should be available starting August 31st for a $999 starting price.
The appeal of a vintage radio design built using modern technology is very strong. Not everyone cares for the larger size of most traditional sets, however. A reasonable compromise is a design based on the early transistor radios that made portable sound possible. TEAC, which has already released numerous stereos in the nostalgic mode, today unveiled the R-1B stereo in Japan. Its power output is meek at 1.5W, but it features both an AM/FM radio tuner as well as an auxiliary input jack for an iPod or most any other modern audio source. Currently on sale in Japan for $90 US, a variant of the R-1 already appears at American TEAC website and should therefore be ready very soon.
Virtually every multi-display user has had to cope with the physical separation of screens as part of their workflow, resulting in wasted space. A new alternative is the Radius 320 multi-screen unit from Seamless Display. The new design places three 20-inch LCD panels side by side for an effective screen resolution of 4800x1200, with no bezels in between to disrupt the appearance. The display requires three DVI signals from one or more video cards, but does not require any specific operating system or drivers to achieve its effect - an advantage for Mac Pro users seeking the most contiguous screen area possible. Radius 320 units are available for sale through special order at the company website; pricing varies by location.
As a company habitually quick to use the newest Intel processors, Dell is understandably prepared to take advantage of the mobile Core 2 Duo, which it has done today across several models in its portable lineup. The most complete change is to the XPS line that sees all its existing systems upgraded with the new processor, beginning with the unusual choice of a 1.73GHZ Core 2 Duo as the base processor for the $1200 M1210 and ending with the 2.33GHz upgrade option on all three XPS models. The more mainstream Inspiron E1705 and Precision workstation laptops also receive Core 2 Duo options. As with other manufacturers' Core 2 Duo systems announced today, Dell's updated models are expected to ship in early September.
Continuing today's focus on Core 2 Duo laptop updates is Alienware, which is launching three new models built around Intel's new mobile processor. The new system lineup addresses all but the company's smallest laptops. First is the budget 14-inch Sentia m3450, which starts at $849 and includes a modest 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 512MB of RAM, and 40GB of storage. Occupying the mid-range at $1200 is the Area-51 m5550, which adds a 15.4-inch display, 128MB Radeon X1400 video, and a 60GB hard drive. Lastly, desktop replacement users can opt for the 17-inch Area-51 m5750 and its included 256MB Radeon X1800 at $1400. All of these systems can be upgraded to a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM or extra hard drive space; the m5550 can additionally receive a graphics upgrade to a 256MB GeForce Go 7600. The three new designs should ship in early September.
Small electronics are rarely built to be modified; in many cases, manufacturers are openly hostile to users who would try to load unofficial firmware or open the unit to change the hardware. Chumby's self-titled device taks the opposite approach. Though it initially ships as a digital clock, the Chumby is designed to be extremely flexible. Connecting a Chumby to a computer and registering it lets the user download widgets (in the same vein as those from the MacOS X Dashboard) that take advantage of the Chumby's touchscreen, speakers, USB, and WiFi. Widgets already exist to let users view specific websites or view photos. The device has a plush back that can easily be changed to cater to a different look or removed entirely to give access to the main circuitboard for more determined enthusiasts. Mass production does not officially begin until March 2007 when the Chumby will be available for $150, but prospective developers can contact the company and obtain a unit in advance if necessary.
Those looking for a balance between barebones flash audio players and more advanced players such as the iPod nano might find Philips' new player a worthwhile if fairly conventional option. The 1GB GoGear SA13335 contains many of the now-standard features of its class, including MP3/WMA audio, FM tuning, and voice recording. Its advantages are primarily in design and software. This GoGear model uses a 128x64 OLED integrated seamlessly into the shell and a suitably minimal control set to choose music. Users also have their choice of operating system: though Philips only officially supports Windows, the company mentions that both Mac and Windows users alike can transfer music to the player by dragging and dropping files while the SA13335 is connected to the computer via USB 2. It should be available soon, though an official retail price has not been set.
Computer keyboards often ship with media buttons to control basic music and video functions without having to switch to the program. This is not always useful: without track information, users still have to look at the program on their screens if they need to identify a song or control Internet radio. Logitech's new Z-10 speakers reduce that dependency by integrating a screen and touch-sensitive controls into one of the satellites. By connecting the speakers to the computer through USB and installing (currently Windows-only) software, listeners can see exactly see and control tracks played from a number of music jukebox programs, including iTunes, WinAmp, and Windows Media Player. The Z-10 speakers can also be cued to four Internet radio presets and displays general system information when not playing music. Auxiliary input and headphone jacks allow the Z-10 to accept more conventional audio as well. Logitech ships its new speakers in September for $150. See a full-sized photo after the jump.
Even before launch, the TiVo Series 3 is quickly becoming the flagship model with the most features, including support for dual HDTV tuners and external storage. It should then come as little surprise that new retail information places the Series 3 at the very top of the TiVo product lineup in terms of price. An early entry into the Best Buy retail SKU system lists the new model as available for $799 - well above the $469 for the current 180-hour Series 2 with dual standard-definition tuners and a 3-year plan. However, it should also arrive soon enough that those who can justify the price will not have long to wait. The same Best Buy system also lists the Series 3 as in stock for September 17th, just a few weeks away. Though retail stocking systems are not always reliable sources of information, prior news of the Series 3's beta testing phase makes a launch feasible in three weeks' time.
As previously expected, the first Core 2 Duo laptops have been announced today. Most of these announcements will focus on performance models such as Toshiba's new variant of the Qosmio G35. The G35-AV660 is an upgrade to the already high-end AV650 model that introduced HD DVD to laptops. Its drive can still only read the next-generation format (though it can read and write CDs and DVDs), but numerous other aspects of the system have received an upgrade: the AV660 receives a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, an increase to 2GB of RAM, and 240GB of total storage to make it one of the more complete media center laptops available. Accordingly, the $3500 price will limit the AV660 primarily to users whose laptop replaces their desktop computer and television at the same time.
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