News Archive for 06/09/01

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23-inch iMac on Sept. 12 as part of larger strategy?

09/01, 5:30pm

23-inch iMac on Sept 12

Since news first broke of a September 12th Apple press event on Wednesday, speculation has been feverish about Macs and iPods that may be introduced at the event alongside a likely iTunes Movie Store. News followed courtesy of MacBidouille that iMac and MacBook Pro supplies are low in Europe, pointing towards computer updates. The latest information is that one of the products to be introduced at the special event will be a 23-inch iMac, according to AppleInsider. Featuring a mobile Core 2 Duo processor, the new model would feature a 1920x1200 resolution - making it ideal for 1080p video and general movie viewing. Click through for insights from Electronista experience with Apple product launches.

Sony SZ laptop receives Core 2 Duo upgrade

09/01, 4:50pm

Sony SZ Core 2 Duo

Some computer manufacturers were quick to announce immediate upgrades to the Core 2 Duo processor in their laptop models, such as Dell and Toshiba. Others, however, have taken a more conservative approach and announced new systems closer to immediate availability. An example is Sony, which introduced the VAIO SZ3 laptop in Japan on Friday. Similar in most respects to the SZ2 version still on sale in the US, the 13.3-inch SZ3 receives increased performance through the Core 2 Duo in higher-end models. Memory and hard drive space are still relatively basic at 512MB and 80GB for the base configuration, but models can be configured with as much as 2GB of RAM and 160GB of storage. A mid-range model with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, a 100GB hard drive, DVD writer, and a 3.1-megapixel camera will sell in Japan for the equivalent of $2047 US. American pricing is expected to be significantly less when announced in the near future.

Windows Vista reaches Release Candidate stage

09/01, 4:10pm

Vista Reaches RC1

Microsoft has often been maligned for its frequent delays to Windows Vista, which have prompted some computer manufacturers to offer coupons during the holidays to drive sales after the most recent delay to January 2007. Fears of further delays have been partially addressed by the completion of Vista Release Candidate 1, announced today by Microsoft executive Jim Allchin in the official development team blog. It will initially seed to developers and hardware manufacturers; a public release is also scheduled but has not been formally announced. Response to the quality of recent builds has been much more positive than for Beta 2, which invited criticism even from long-term Microsoft supporters for its poor performance and unnecessarily strict User Account Control feature.

Philips introduces iPod nano-style GoGear SA9200

09/01, 3:25pm

Philips GoGear SA9200

In contrast to the more basic GoGear SA13335 announced earlier this month, Philips announced a mid-range flash player today that shows the clear influence of the iPod nano in its slim design. Measuring 0.35 inches thick, the SA9200 places both a data connector and a headphone jack at the bottom of the device to save space. Its screen is a more conventional 1.7-inch LCD in place of the OLED from the SA13335, but the new player gains photo support, a 14-hour battery life, and a fast-scrolling touchpad interface. Drag-and-drop file transfers have also been replaced with synchronization through Windows Media Player. The 2GB player ships by the end of summer for $199.

Toshiba introduces next-generation HD DVD in Europe

09/01, 2:50pm

Toshiba Europe HD DVD

While movie viewers in North America still have no replacement in sight for the Toshiba HD-A1 as their sole HD DVD player for televisions, European enthusiasts will soon have a second-generation unit that addresses many of the complaints about the initial model. Both the HD-E1 (pictured) and HD-XE1 are considerably slimmer than the box-like American original. More important are the features of the high-end XE1: unlike the A1, it supports the native 1080p output of the disc format and includes HDMI 1.3 with deep color support for an accurate picture. The base E1 version more closely resembles the A1 in terms of features, matching the 1080i output and standard HDMI of the original player. Toshiba did not mention whether disc load times had been improved in these new models. The HD-E1 will be the first to arrive in November for €599 ($769 US), while the XE1 should appear the following month for €899 ($1154 US). A North American equivalent is likely, but remains unannounced.

Samsung produces 'clear' plasma TV

09/01, 2:25pm

Samsung Clear Plasma TV

Plasma televisions often suffer in typical daytime lighting: a bright window can wash out the picture and hurt the otherwise excellent image quality typical of such screens. A final Samsung display announcement from the IFA expo marked the introduction of the new PS42/50H plasma television that solves the problem of over-bright ambient lighting through a special screen filter. Instead of adding a traditional coating to the screen, Samsung added a filter to the front glass that amplifies the internal light. This keeps the display bright and gives viewers a clearer picture: Samsung claims a 10000:1 contrast ratio and 1300 cd/m2 brightness. A processor in the display also corrects jittering and outline artifacts in images to help with fast-moving images. As with the earlier television announcement, this particular plasma television is likely intended for Europe but should be matched by a North American version soon.

Commodore introduces portable media player with WiFi

09/01, 12:50pm

Commodore Gravel in Pocket

Most people still associate the Commodore name with early personal computers, but its recent revival is quickly establishing a presence in portable electronics. Its most significant introduction to date will be the Gravel in Pocket, a small portable media player designed in the style of its namesake. A 2.8-inch screen dominates the front face of the player with controls hidden around the sides. While its media support includes standard audio, photo, and video formats (including DivX and Windows Media), the player is relatively unique through its inclusion of WiFi for downloading networked content. Storage on the player itself is flash-based with either 1GB or 2GB of memory plus an SD card slot for expansion. Buyers can expect to see the player in November and will have access to the upcoming CommodoreWorld website at the same time to download new music and videos. A full photo of the Gravel in Pocket is available after the jump.

NPR to launch digital music service for public radio

09/01, 12:30pm

NPR Digital Music Service

NPR is considered one of the most forward-thinking public networks in the global radio landscape, with virtually all of its nationally syndicated programming available as audio podcasts or otherwise accessible online. However, much of the regional content is isolated or radio-only. This will change soon with the announcement of a new NPR digital music service, reports Advertising Age. Though the network has not yet established a concrete business model, the site will focus on aggregating podcasts, streaming video of performances, and other content that should be available to listeners at no cost. "There are a lot of places to buy stuff. This is a place to learn," says NPR's Ken Stern. To that end, the network intends to make its music service a central location for those curious about exploring new and different musical influences.

Samsung 971P display sports unique design, no clutter

09/01, 11:45am

Samsung 971P display

As a complement to its television announcements, Samsung unveiled a style-oriented computer display for the global market. The SyncMaster 971P achieves its "geometric beauty," according to the company, by floating the display on a thin, S-shaped stand that hides cabling from the viewer's sight. All the menu and power buttons have moved away from the front to present a minimalist look and feel. The display itself is a capable though standard 19-inch, 1280x1024 resolution panel with a full 16.7-million color output, 1500:1 contrast ratio, and 6ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. DVI and VGA input are standard alongside a USB 2.0 hub for cameras and other devices. Pricing was not set during the announcement, but availability is imminent for the 971P in both American and European markets.

Pioneer to ship hybrid Blu-Ray/HD DVD drive in 2007

09/01, 11:15am

Pioneer Hybrid BR/HDDVD

The ongoing format war between Blu-Ray and HD DVD has left many computer users reluctant to adopt drives and computers that only support a single next-generation format. Pioneer today announced an option that should satisfy buyers interested in future-proof storage. The upcoming BDR-103 drive will support playback and recording of both Blu-Ray and HD DVD media, the company announced today at the IFA expo. Though specifications are not yet ready, the drive should be available in the middle of 2007. An interim update to its existing Blu-Ray drive, to be named the BDR-102, will ship in 2007 and feature both dual-layer Blu-Ray recording as well as add legacy support for CD-R and CD-RW discs.

Samsung announces LED-based LCD, more at IFA

09/01, 10:45am

Samsung LED-based LCD

The IFA expo in Berlin has seen a number of significant hardware introductions, such as the first computer-free Skype phone from Philips. Today marked the introduction of a raft of new displays from Samsung that take advantage of multiple new advances in technology. Its first model is the LE40M91, a 40-inch LCD television with an LED backlight. The lighting technique provides much more even illumination and improved color accuracy: Samsung claims a 10000:1 contrast ratio and 146% color gamut when using dynamic contrast. Samsung's new set also has double the refresh rate of standard sets. In Europe, the television will update its 720p native resolution at 100Hz and effectively do away with motion blur in fast scenes. The company also announced 40-inch and 46-inch 1080p sets using more conventional technology. No specific details were given about pricing or availability, though all three televisions should be available soon with North American equivalents to follow.

SanDisk Sansa c200 targets 1GB iPod nano

09/01, 9:45am

SanDisk Sansa c200

As the second-largest digital audio player manufacturer in the US with 9.7% of the market, SanDisk is best positioned to challenge the longstanding supremacy of the iPod. Just days ago, the company announced an 8GB e200 model that doubles the current capacity of the high-end iPod nano while equaling it in price. The flash memory manufacturer began its challenge to Apple's lower end models today by introducing the Sansa c200 series of players, which competes directly with the 1GB iPod nano. SanDisk's new music and photo player includes a 1.4-inch color screen, FM radio and recording, and a microSD slot for extra storage. Crucially, SanDisk has priced its new model aggressively compared to Apple offerings: the higher-end 2GB c250 sells for $100, a full $49 less than the 1GB iPod nano and equal to the price of the screenless 1GB iPod shuffle. A 1GB c240 model will also be available for $80 when the c200 series ships to stores in October.

Pretec launches first 8GB SD card

09/01, 9:15am

Pretec 8GB SD Card

One of the most significant advantages of CompactFlash, storage capacity, is quickly eroding in light of rapidly improving memory production. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the announcement of a new 8GB SD card from Pretec. Using the new SD 2.0 standard (also known as SDHC), the new card offers double the capacity of the original SD card format, which is limited to a maximum of 4GB by design. SD 2.0 is not backwards compatible with earlier hardware, though Pretec plans to introduce a tool named SD-Tuner to help users make the transition. The 8GB card is sampling now and will be available in the last quarter of the year for $299.

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