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The FCC recently approved the WEP10L and the WEP10R, a pair of new Bluetooth headsets from Samsung. The units are distinguished by having volume and redial buttons built-in. Charge times for each should be about two-and-a-half hours. The L and R designations represent the sidedness of the units: L for the left ear, R for the right. Given that the technology has only just been certified, Samsung isn't saying when and at what price the headsets will ship.
Vertu, a luxury division of Nokia, has formally announced the existence of its most accessible phone to date. The Constellation is described by the firm as a simpler alternative to the more extravagant Ascent and Signature handsets. The announcement confirms earlier details about the device, including a European leather back, a gold or satin steel body, and a sapphire crystal screen that Vertu claims is scratch-resistant.
Technical details have been similarly verified in the release. As noted in an early review, the Constellation keeps Vertu's existing Concierge service, a special hotline for owners who want to make reservations or arrange travel regardless of which coverage area they live in. The phone proper is a quad-band GSM device with a Bluetooth 2.0 receiver, audio/video playback, and Internet access through either GPRS or EDGE. No pricing is listed for the general public, but the luxury-oriented stores to which the Constellation is now shipping (Bang & Olufsen and jewellers are amongst them) betray its premium price.
Although Apple has previously dismissed deals with satellite radio providers, it continues to explore the technology on its own, as OrbitCast has discovered in a recent patent application. The filing (PDF), published October 19th and originally filed in August 2005, refers to two distinct methods of integrating the iPod with satellite services. The first aspect of the patent describes the ability to tune "into a wireless signal (e.g., AM FM radio, digital radio, or WiFi)" using an iPod-style player with "the capability to accept accessories to add the necessary functionality." While this may refer to Apple's Radio Remote released late in 2005, the patent's explicit mention of support well beyond AM/FM radio is significant and may signal a future add-on that would supply satellite radio directly to the iPod. Click through for details of the further satellite integration elements of the patent.
A robotic webcam called the NetTansor will come out in Japan December 16th, says Japanese site Impress Watch. The cam will use 802.11b/g wireless to accept commands from a remote PC, which will also be able to engage in two-way voice communication. Three sensors and an image recognition system will prevent the robot from crashing into objects. A somewhat limited battery supply will offer just two and a half hours of runtime. The robot will sell in Japan for 50,000 yen ($419.83 US).
Parents looking to play something different (or longer) for their children might look into Munchkin's iCrib Sound System, an audio player dock that mounts on the railings of most baby cribs. The dock features with a volume limiter to avoid waking babies, as well as a nightlight that changes colors and a timer that can be set to 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals. The iCrib costs $30 and is being sold online at sites like Amazon, and in person at shops such as Babies 'R' Us and Target.
Customers of Virgin Mobile have until recently had a comparatively lackluster selection of phones, but a recently discovered product leak promises a better if not necessarily unique option. Bearing an uncanny similarity to Motorola's SLVR, the Slice has recently been discovered on Circuit City's product pages. UTStarcom, normally a producer of smartphones, is responsible for the candybar design and has clearly targeted it at the lower prices associated with Virgin's prepaid service: its primary feature is 32MB of memory, with neither Bluetooth nor a camera. Without the added cost of this technology, however, the Slice is currently priced at $50 and requires only Virgin's standard prepaid service to be activated. Circuit City says it will be shipping the new cellphone by next week.
Although its initial keyboard concept is only now reaching users in the form of the Mini-Three assistant, Art Lebedev Studio says it's developing a new device that would be a useful companion device to creative workers and gamers. Currently existing only in prototype form, the Optimus Upravlator will expand the company's existing computer controls to a full twelve buttons in a shape reminiscent of a computer screen. As with the Mini-Three, each button will incorporate its own display that can animate or change depending on the program and its immediate context. The studio suggests roles such as a palette tool for artists, a properties editor for 3D modeling software, or a cockpit instrument cluster for a flight simulator. No definite information about the device's eventual release has been given. A gallery is available after the jump.
Japanese manufacturers Sknet have developed RelacOn, a set of waterproof speakers for media players such as the iPod. Owners open up the cover of RelacOn and connect a player via stereo plug. Once tucked inside, a device should be safe in water up to a depth of 30 feet. Decide on your music before closing the lid however, because the only dial accessible from the outside is a volume knob. The speakers have 800mW of power each and are supplied by batteries providing 30 hours of playback. RelacOn should be on sale in Japan later this month for 4,380 yen ($36.78 US) in three different colors: pink, white, and marine blue (click below).
While most high-profile phones are built for style, Verizon revealed a new phone today that it says is built to survive the harshest conditions. The Casio G'zOne Type-V is unique not for its shape or media features, but for a casing that has been tested against US military standards, according to Verizon. The US carrier notes that the G'zOne is waterproof to a depth of at least one meter, can survive the shock of repeated 1.5-meter drops, and is resistant to corrosion, dust, and extreme temperatures. Importantly, however, the media features of the phone have not been compromised, says Verizon. A 2-megapixel camera, EVDO broadband support, and support for Verizon's own V CAST games and videos put it on par with more recent handsets. The phone will be available online starting tomorrow for $300, and will be in stores as of the 23rd. A full photo is available after the jump.
Microsoft has used its X06: Korea event to announce a new hard drive for the Xbox 360, Game Inside reports. The expanded drive will be a sizable 100GB; that's 40GB larger than the one in Sony's top-end Playstation 3 console (due in the US November 17th), and five times larger than the drive presently available for the 360. The new device should ship as an optional accessory sometime in March of 2007. Players use these hard drives to store everything from music to downloaded game demos on their systems. Some gamers have complained about the current 360 drive, noting that 20GB is rather low in an era of 1GB demos and 30GB iPods.
Japan's M-Infotech has announced the IH19, a mobile dock designed to protect iPods from rattle and weather damage, Newlaunches says. Users strap an iPod to the inside of the IH19, where a cable connects the player to a set of speakers and external controls. Track, volume, and play/pause buttons are all accessible on the outside of the closed case. Though there's no means of charging iPods through the dock, it is promoted as being waterproof. It's currently selling in Japan for about 14,800 yen ($124.27 US). Online pricing and sales points are currently unknown. Click below to see the inside of the unit.
After a relatively quiet interval, RCA has developed two new music players that compete directly in the mid-range market currently led by the iPod nano. As revealed by postings at the German online store CyberPort, updated Lyra players have been introduced under the Thompson brand that put the American company back into competition. Of these, the EM2802 (pictured) bears the closest resemblance to Apple's compact players. Holding 2GB of flash memory, the device has a 1.5-inch color OLED screen (versus the nano's LCD) and supports MPEG-4 video beyond the more conventional MP3 and WMA audio formats. The German retailer has no estimated ship date but is selling the EM2802 for 150 Euros after tax, which translates to a sub-$150 price for a future American release. Click through for details of the 8GB EH308.
Not known for its speakers, Memorex on Thursday unveiled a new portable iPod speaker system. Listeners of the iMove boombox can carry and play their iPod safely while travelling. A built-in handle between the satellites allows the iMove to be lifted with one hand, and the iPod is cradled parallel to the main system rather than sitting upright. Memorex says its boombox is capable of 12W of sustained power with SRS WOW sound enhancement and can run solely on eight D-cell batteries, though the company doesn't provide an estimated battery life. Line-in support for alternate audio sources and a wireless remote are included. The iMove works with all dockable iPods and ships in black or white for $100.
If your smartphone is missing built-in WiFi, or an SDIO slot for a regular SD WiFi card, Spectec is making the SDW 823, a WiFi card made for microSDIO. The product is a tiny 0.92x0.43x0.03 inches. In terms of network protocols, the card supports 802.11b and g, running at speeds of 11Mbits and 54Mbps respectively. The one limiting factor of the 823 may be its OS support, since it will only operate under Windows CE 4.x and 5.x. Price and availability information is currently unknown.
British gadget retailers Gizoo are promoting the RS Media, the latest toy in WowWee's Robosapien series. The highlight of this iteration is a head-mounted camera and a 1.9-inch LCD screen, located in the chest. The camera can take still shots or display a live feed to the LCD. A USB port allows music, pictures and video to transferred to 40 MB of flash memory, and through removable SD cards, the toy can also store and play back your voice. A new editing package called BodyCon allows you to change the RS' motions. You may have to hurry if you want a robot though: at last count, Gizoo had a mere five of them in stock for the price of £300. It may be some time before the RS ships to North American retailers. Click through for a full-sized photo.
Windows Vista won't be ready for the widely predicted late-October timeframe, according to ZDNet. Microsoft's well-known co-president of platforms and services, Jim Allchin, revealed the news to journalist Mary Jo Foley later on Wednesday. "We won't RTM (release to manufacturing) in a week," Allchin said. The executive elaborated that driver support and program compatibility are not yet at RTM quality, although the third-party companies responsible are providing schedules that have Allchin "feeling good about targets," according to Foley. The writer currently estimates an early November completion date for the new OS, although Allchin declined to confirm any details. The second release candidate of the OS, made available to testes only in early October, has prompted worries that holding firm to the previously planned schedule would result in a substandard shipping version.
Sprint says it is now carrying one of the least expensive mobile broadband cards available. Shipping today, the Pantech PX-500 is a PC Card adapter that supports both the original EVDO as well as its new Revision A which is expected to serve as much as 800Kbps downstream and 400Kbps upstream in real-world conditions. A dual-band antenna is built-in to maintain the signal at the fringes of coverage areas. Power is also carefully managed by the card to prevent laptop batteries from draining prematurely. Crucially, Sprint says, the new card is available for free through its website after a discount and mail-in rebate, leaving subscribers to pay only the cost of the data plan itself.
Epson has just released three new inkjet printers it says are better than professional photo labs. The Stylus Photo R260, R380, and RX580 All-In-One are all capable of what the company says are Ultra High-Definition prints. Using their new MicroPiezo print head, the new Stylus models are able to adjust the ink drops to one of five different sizes depending on what needs to be drawn, eliminating much of the coarseness common to printing photos at home. The new print head is also said to print photos extremely quickly: a basic 4" by 6" photo can be printed in as little as 13 seconds, while a full-quality image can be completed in 32 seconds. In combination with the company's new six-color Claria ink, this is expected to produce photos at least as sharp and vivid as commercial labs, according to Epson. Both the R260 and R380 can print at this quality and are also capable of printing directly from cameras, cellphones, and memory cards. Writing to printable CDs and DVDs is also supported.
While the R260 has only basic printing controls, the R380 adds a 3.5-inch LCD that aids in basic photo correction and editing; the RX580 adds a 1200x2400 DPI flatbed scanner for copying and transferring existing photos. All three are available immediately for $130 (R260) and $200 (R380, RX580) respectively.
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