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Korean-made media players only occasionally reach North America. One of their key conduits is Best Buy: the large retailer regularly imports budget electronics under its Insignia house brand, giving smaller Korean manufacturers a chance to reach a much wider audience. An example of this is the imminent NS-DVxG player, reports AVING. The small handheld is capable of running MPEG-4 video and JPEG photos on its 2.2-inch screen as well as playing the ubiquitous MP3, OGG, and WMA audio formats. No mention is made of built-in storage; the company is primarily relying on microSD cards to store files. Best Buy should begin carrying the NS-DVxG by late October, while a game download service similar to that for the new iPod is set to follow in November.
Card readers are most often built solely as passive devices that seldom do more than pass information to a central computer. Professional photographers and others who regularly spend time away from computers will often find these adapters lacking, which is why the DigiMate III card reader could be indispensable. In addition to supporting several different memory types including CF, Memory Stick, and SD cards, the DigiMate III can be opened to install a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive that stores photos or other data directly transferred from the smaller storage formats. A touchscreen interface simplifies file transfers and helps monitor the current status. This independence also extends to more than its freedom from computers, as a built-in lithium-ion battery will keep the reader in use for two hours of activity when away from AC power. The DigiMate III connects to Macs or Windows PCs through USB 2.0 and is shipping now for $49.
Microsoft currently touts the overhauled security of Windows Vista as a benefit that prevents malware from damaging the operating system without the user's consent. This assumed security is being called into question by security experts, reports CNET. Cisco security technology CTO Bob Gleichauf says that certain aspects of Vista have him "scared" from a security standpoint and that such a major change in architecture is likely to introduce its own share of security problems. Doubts have also been expressed by businesses whose existing layers of security are now being found as part of Vista. These organizations are hesitant to take on the risks associated with integrating Vista's security into their networks or replacing older defenses outright, according to the Gartner analyst group's Eric Ouellet. The uncertainty caused by Microsoft's frequent changes to Vista is preventing companies from depending on its feature set. The upcoming operating system, due to ship en masse in January, has previously alarmed security expert Steve Gibson because of its 'virgin' network stack that may be subject to attacks that were originally patched as part of Windows 95 updates.
Many thought YouTube ambitious when it declared that it would catalog every music video ever made in its massive collection. Nevertheless, the video host's efforts have borne fruit today by means of a deal signed with Warner Music. The agreement will see videos by major artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear legally on the site; the music label intends to take advantage of the deal by using it to distribute interviews and original content. User-submitted content, often cited as the key to YouTube's success, will be able to use Warner artists' music legally without fees or common legal barriers. The move is likely to pave the way for similar developments in the near future.
Batteries are more and more the primary limiting factors in portable devices, and researchers have recently shifted attention towards transforming the devices' own bodies into power sources. The latest in these studies recently completed at Cornell University, according to a study published in the journal Science. Scientists at the university have discovered a way to add a conducting film on top of a two-layer OLED display that would let the screen itself draw in negative ions from sunlight, charging the screen and the device attached to it. Already energy-efficient, the organic screens could theoretically be used to largely eliminate the modest power draw of an OLED and may even allow the display to charge the main battery while the system is shut down or on standby. The Cornell invention is likely to need several years before it can be used commercially, as is often the case with scientific research.
The sea change in stereo systems brought about by digital audio is becoming apparent through new stereos announced by Creative's affiliate company Cambridge SoundWorks today. Of the four new systems that are part of the launch, only one of them includes the once-commonplace CD player. All of them, however, include an auxiliary input for portable music players. Two models show the immediate result of the legal settlement between Apple and Creative: the Radio 735 ($300) and Radio CD 745 ($400, pictured) include an external iPod dock that relays music to the stereo's speakers. A wireless remote can control basic iPod functions. Both models are similar with the exception of the 745's CD player with MP3 playback support. Cambridge is also shipping two radio-focused systems in the form of the Radio 820HD ($300) and Radio 705 ($120). The former is the company's first stereo to support the new HD Radio terrestrial broadcast format and doubles as an AM/FM clock radio. The latter is a retro-style AM/FM radio with a rotary dial in place of an LCD. Both Radio CD models are shipping in October; the radio-only models are reserved for November. Click through for photos of the 705 and 820HD.
The American branch of cellphone carrier T-Mobile has been aggressively expanding its smartphone lineup with designs such as the coveted BlackBerry Pearl. Another desirable phone is set to make its North American debut with the provider, say MoDaCo forum sources. The HTC Excalibur - recently christened the S620 in Europe - will arrive first for customers of T-Mobile with the simple name of Dash. HTC's Dash will directly oppose the Motorola Q with a similar 320x240 screen, keyboard, and mobile broadband support, but replaces the conventional jog dial with a touch strip for scrolling through data. Nothing regarding an official release date was confirmed, though the October European release date should closely parallel that for American subscribers.
Portable media players that can record video are rare but steadily increasing in number: Archos' new line as well as the Doghouse RoverTv already capture video from outside sources to play later on the go. However useful they may be, though, most of these recorders have large screens that limit their portability. The German company Minox is now offering a more balanced player in the form of the Minox DMP 4. At roughly half the size of its competitors, the DMP 4 is still capable of recording DVD, television, or other analog sources through its AV input and encoding them into 480p MPEG-4 clips. It can also record audio in MP3 format. Storage is small at 2GB of internal flash memory, but an SD card slot is included to expand the available space as well as ease transferring recorded media to a computer (a mini-USB port is built-in). Minox has not set a formal launch date or price as of yet.
Once well-known as one of the first companies to ship video-capable portable audio players in the form of the iAudio X5, Cowon has been quiet in terms of releases. The Korean manufacturer reversed this trend Monday by announcing the iAudio F2. The small 2GB flash-based player stands out for its cellphone-like design and has a fairly large amount of format support: FLAC, MP3, OGG, and WMA audio are possible alongside photo and FM radio support. FM radio and direct audio recording are similarly standard features. Cowon claims 22 hours of battery life and is shipping the player to South Korea first on September 22nd for an equivalent price of $185 US. A North American launch has not yet been mentioned.
Game players who want private listening environments are familiar with compromise. Voice chat in games is best served by microphone headsets, but these sets either treat voice as a separate channel or else strip the audio of its better qualities, especially surround sound. TRITTON says its new AX360 headphones are perfect for listeners who would prefer not to sacrifice sound for conversation. Four speakers in each ear cup position sound dynamically in front or behind of the listener without requiring special support; the new headphones are Dolby 2.1 and 5.1 certified and use Dolby Pro Logic for sources that virtualize their surround sound. At the same time, the AX360 also includes a detachable microphone boom that works with Xbox Live's voice feature as well as voice chat in most Mac and Windows software. The only special requirement is a digital co-ax or optical audio jack on consoles; computer sound cards with 5.1 connections are also supported. The new design is shipping now for $150.
SanDisk is enjoying relative success in the digital audio player market with nearly ten percent of users opting for its music player deal that sees Real's new Rhapsody DNA platform become a staple feature of SanDisk's e200 line. A special version of the Sansa e280 8GB player will come bundled with 32 hours of music that not only provides free listening material but also serves as the basis for a music blueprint: Rhapsody DNA is a subscription service that will automatically download new music on the computer based on a user's listening history and purchases, which are updated each time the Sansa is plugged in. Real hopes that simplifying the process of discovering new music will encourage Sansa owners to use Rhapsody as an alternative to other Windows Media-based stores. The e280 and other players bundled with Rhapsody DNA support are expected to ship in the fall.
Last week's early unveiling of the Apple iTV media hub included news that the device would be able to stream content directly from the Internet, such as trailers from Apple's own movie trailer website. Word has been received today that the computer company is currently in talks with Google to gain access to its online video library, according to Newsweek. In a column for the latest issue of the magazine, writer Steven Levy reports that Google consumer product chief Marissa Mayer has confirmed her firm was negotiating with Apple to bring the Google Video library to the new device. Though exact details of potential plans are unavailable, Google would likely give iTV users access to at least the more popular user-submitted videos, Levy says. No mention has been made of paid content; the search-based company also operates its own direct-download online video store but has so far struggled in sales relative to the iTunes Store, which has sold millions of videos since it first offered them in October 2005.
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