News Archive for 06/10/04

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Haier Black Pearl marks US-born rival to BlackBerry

10/04, 5:05pm

Haier Black Pearl Phone

Designer cellphones tend to originate from a few key companies: with the exception of Canada's BlackBerry Pearl, the best-known style phones originate from the US, Scandinavian countries, or Korea. This makes the Chinese-made Haier Black Pearl a truly unique entry. Sharing the BlackBerry's affinity for glossy black, the Haier model could be an attention-getting handset without the accompanying high price. Its FM tuner, MP3 music playback, and Bluetooth are increasingly commonplace, but it does have an OLED display -- an unusual but useful component that can save power versus the more typical LCD. Haier has yet to formally announce a price or a launch date, although it says that the phone will soon be sold unlocked (and thus independently from carriers) in the US.

Cowon iAudio P5 surfaces

10/04, 4:30pm

Cowon iAudio P5

Those who find the new iAudio N2 too ungainly as a multi-role media player will soon have the choice of a more portable system. Photos have appeared on the company's official forums that confirm the existence of the unannounced iAudio P5. In contrast to the almost excessively large N2, the P5 has a more reasonable 5-inch touchscreen but loses very few of the flagship model's features. Southeast Asians can watch mobile TV on the handheld thanks to a built-in DMB receiver; GPS navigation is also built-in for the player's likely role as car navigator. Not mentioned for the earlier model is the P5's support for HSDPA broadband, an important feature for busy Koreans who may need to browse the Internet as well as watch TV during their commutes home. A Korean release for the holidays is very likely.

Wolverine ESP media player with 120GB of storage

10/04, 3:40pm

Wolverine 120GB Player

Regardless of the exact demands of users, many companies deliberately limit the storage of their portable media players to keep the price low. This can be frustrating for those who like to play back or record large amounts of video. Thankfully, Wolverine Data's ESP line is available with a startlingly diverse set of features. The most conspicuous difference between the ESP and others is its hard drive storage: up to a 120GB hard disk is built-in, providing far more storage than most other players. There is also a 7-in-1 card reader to transfer files to or from other devices.

Wolverine has also seen fit to give the player its own recording abilities: it can connect to either an NTSC or PAL video source with an optional cradle and capture hours of extra video. FM radio recording is also possible, and professional photographers will appreciate the ability to store and view RAW files from common DSLR cameras. The ESP is already shipping, with prices varying between $430 for 80GB and $530 for the range-topping 120GB model.

First Samsung i607 details and photos

10/04, 3:05pm

Samsung i607 Phone Details

The Samsung i320 made a significant impact on the smartphone market by bringing the Korean electronics maker's newfound appreciation for slim phones to the data-thirsty earlier this year. Samsung may repeat its success soon, sources have discovered. Discovered in an FCC filing, the i607 is a successor that should improve the earlier design significantly. Its primary advantages are its greatly increased connection options. Previously, the i320 was a tri-band GSM phone meant only for areas such as Europe and its native Korea. The i607 adds the fourth band necessary for some North American providers and also gains HSDPA support for 3.5G mobile Internet. Bluetooth, a camera, and a microSD slot are also standard.

Yet more convincing information about the phone has also surfaced courtesy of photos by a member of HowardForums. As taken, the new images confirm that the i607 has not only been approved by the FCC but will also ship first to Cingular subscribers and will be powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5. Finalized launch details should appear within the next few weeks.

Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 Pro earphones

10/04, 2:10pm

Ultimate Ears triple.fi

Although most portable music listeners are content to rely on the default earbuds that shipped with their players or else a slightly upgraded pair of their own, a small but vocal class of audiophile insists on earbuds that mirror the original recording quality as faithfully as possible. This group should be satisfied with the triple.fi 10 Pro, says earphone maker Ultimate Ears. The new in-canal earbuds are based on the company's far costlier, custom-fit UE 10 design used for concert and studio reference listening and share the same triple-driver output that separates high and low frequencies from each other. Two of these drivers are dedicated to bass reproduction -- important for the low amplification inherent to iPods and other portable players -- while treble is handled by the remaining driver and merged into the final output by a passive crossover. The triple.fi is expected to ship in late October for $399, but only the first 1,000 units will come with two special metallic travel cases; models sold after that will have only a single hard cover case.

Bluetrek M2 Bluetooth headset with faceplates

10/04, 1:35pm

Bluetrek M2 Headset

Cellphones regularly have options for customizable faceplates that let owners change the style of their phone without replacing it. Headset maker Bluetrek believes the same should apply to the Bluetooth headsets that many callers use. Their latest model, the M2 (pictured at right), can wear one of two solid colors (blue and red) or two chrome colors (black and champagne). The earpieces also last a long time at 9 hours of continuous talk time or 11 hours when idle. Bluetrek says the M2 is shipping in Britain now for 39 ($73); the company also sells its headsets in North America and should make them available for that continent soon.

Windows news: Vista hardens protection as WGA fails

10/04, 12:30pm

Vista Activation and WGA

Microsoft unveiled its new Software Protection Platform today, which reveals how Windows Vista and other new software from the company will handle copy protection, according to CNET. Significant amongst these is the use of the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage technology first introduced with later Windows XP updates. Microsoft says that new Vista installations must be activated within the first 30 days or it will be restricted to a new Reduced Functionality Mode that severely limits the use of the operating system.

"We will let you use your browser for periods of up to an hour before we log you off," says Microsoft's Thomas Lindeman.

While this compares favorably to Windows XP, which locks users out entirely until they activate the software, journalists are criticizing Microsoft for a newly-implemented feature that will use WGA to periodically check the authenticity of Vista. If it determines that the installed copy is pirated, reports CNET, the 30-day activation period returns and the user loses access to the advanced Aero interface, Defender anti-spyware tools, and ReadyBoost memory functions. Click through for more.

Sonnet ships eSATA adapter for ExpressCard

10/04, 11:15am

Sonnet eSATA ExpressCard

MacBook Pro owners have relatively limited options for high-speed external hard drives, especially if they need to connect to multi-drive storage units. Sonnet's now shipping Tempo SATA Express 34 gives them, and any other users of laptops with ExpressCard slots, two 3Gbps external SATA (eSATA) ports that can be used to connect hard drives that use the high-speed interface. When two drives are connected in a RAID 0 stripe the sustained transfer rate is better than any USB 2 or FireWire setup -- it can write at 100MB per second, according to Sonnet. The new Tempo card can additionally support up to 10 drives if each port is connected to an external enclosure with a built-in port multiplier. Mac and Windows users alike can purchase the Tempo SATA Express 34 now for $130.

Helio first virtual carrier to get 3G/WiFi card

10/04, 10:45am

Helio 3G Wireless Card

Since mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) never operate the cellphone networks themselves, they are seldom able to make decisions about the services they offer without careful consideration. This helps to explain the relatively late but welcome addition of a new 3G wireless card as an option for the young virtual carrier Helio. The Hybrid is the first 3G card offered by an MVNO and lets users of computers with PC Card slots connect to Helio's EVDO mobile broadband at rates between 400 and 700Kbps. Hinted at in the adapter's name is the extra ability to connect to WiFi hotspots as needed. If the user installs the (Windows-only) Helio software, the card will automatically switch between EVDO and WiFi to get the best connection speed. Helio says the card is available for free if subscribers choose an $85 per month data and phone service plan.

Vertu Constellation reviewed

10/04, 10:15am

Vertu Constellation Review

Outside reviews are not often covered at Electronista, but an exception can be made for the Vertu Constellation due to its rarity: few will ever have the privilege of using a Vertu phone. Luxury technology site Sybarites recently had the rare opportunity to test the new model from Nokia's high-end brand and has positive findings. The overall quality is very high, writes the reviewer. Unlike most cellphones, the Constellation is hand-assembled and includes features one would expect from a phone likely to be used by the world elite. A notable highlight is the concierge button that automatically connects with a unique agent who can reserve boats, restaurants, or other special requests. The review further mentions that the use of satin steel, a sapphire screen and other premium materials do add to the perceived quality. The Constellation is currently available only through direct contact with Vertu or its special retail stores.

D-Link V-CLICK: dual cell and VoIP phone

10/04, 9:35am

D-Link V-CLICK Phone

T-Mobile and other companies have discussed the prospect of launching a dual-mode cellphone service that would let subscribers switch to Internet calling to save roaming costs. The phones to enable this have been slow to arrive until today's introduction of D-Link's V-CLICK handset. The new device is effectively a flexible platform: the standard model will ship unlocked, allowing users to turn on tri-band GSM access to a local phone carrier, but also has a special button that instantly switches to WiFi if the user would rather use a VoIP service or browse the Web through the included Opera Mobile browser. The V-CLICK is also built to recognize specific WiFi profiles and can automatically connect to different secure networks depending on the user's location. Talk time can vary between 5 hours for GSM mode and 2 hours for WiFi mode. Expect D-Link's new phone to ship in early 2007 for $600.

Easy Recorder 2 records video for iPods and PSPs

10/04, 9:00am

Hagiwara Easy Recorder 2

Portable video recorders that write to flash memory are usually media players, such as those from Archos or Doghouse. If there's no immediate need to play the video on the recorder itself, a simpler device in the vein of Hagiwara's Easy Recorder 2 should work equally well. Its sole function is to record video from an RCA connection to a Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo for later use. As this video is recorded to MPEG-4, the company encourages users to transfer recorded clips to portable devices: video from the Easy Recorder 2 can either be played directly from the PSP or transferred to a computer through USB, where it can then be synchronized with an iPod. The option also exists to adjust the recording quality if the length of the video exceeds the amount of free space. Hagiwara estimates that a 1GB card can hold 4 hours of video at normal quality. The recorder is now shipping to the US for $140 without a Memory Stick.

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