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Sony will be delaying the launch of its LocationFree TV boxes, writes the Associated Press. The company claims it needs more tests to adapt its remote control to third-party devices. The boxes are meant to be range extenders for Sony's LocationFree base stations, units that transmit TV output to devices with Internet access. The Japanese release date has been pushed from October 27th to November 17th, while US shipments should arrive at an undefined point in October. Base station deliveries should remain unaffected.
Amateur photographers who need their batteries kept fresh might be interested in the Nova Solar Camera Bag, an Eclipse product with a solar panel mounted on the lid. Users connect the panel to a third-party 12V auto adapter, and from there to devices like battery chargers and cellphones. The panel remains active as you walk around. The inside of the bag has room for an SLR body, three lenses, and small accessories. Removable dividers let you customize space to your needs. The bag is being sold at Eclipse's website for $150.
Lighting company Adesso has introduced an iPod speaker system that blends directly into home decor. Its new iLamp range builds a cradle into the base of a desk lamp that can play music from any dockable iPod through stereo speakers. An auxiliary input jack is also present for other devices. Different versions are available in black or white that reflect particular aesthetic tastes or features, including the Architect (pictured) with storage containers, the Tunes with a snake-style adjustable neck, or the Boom Box with higher-power speakers and an LED light. All models are shipping now from Adesso for $89.
Microsoft employee Cesar "LoveFoxxx" Menendez is saying that the Zune's battery can last as long as 13 hours, or even 14 hours with wireless turned off. This is roughly equivalent to the current 30GB iPod, but is perhaps more impressive because of the Zune's three-inch screen. Strict measures were needed to reach 14 hours, however: the test Zune was set to loop 128Kbps WMA files the entire time, and power-saving tactics included shutting off the EQ and avoiding menus or pictures. Battery life can drop as low as four hours when viewing video or pictures, Menendez admits.
Microsoft said today that it will take its first steps into chip design, reports the New York Times. The software developer announced that it will launch a new division within the company, initially named the Computer Architecture Group, to research and produce its own processors for its hardware. One key reason is the next Xbox, says the head of the new division, Charles Thacker. The game console currently relies exclusively upon outside hardware such as graphics from ATI and a CPU from IBM. The company is interested in voice recognition and other technologies where hardware and software are closely linked. Key to this change in Microsoft is a new process introduced by the University of California that can test entire computer designs virtually, rather than requiring physical prototypes. This will allow Microsoft to study the impact of a new concept immediately, says the Times' John Markoff.
The move is cited as further evidence of consolidation between Microsoft's hardware and software development, which began with the introduction of the original Xbox and was recently underscored by the unveiling of the Zune music player.
Sonic Integrity is selling the Tube Pod, a luxury iPod dock that comes with an amplifier. The dock's name stems from the vacuum tubes used in the amplifier, which some audiophiles say produce better sound than transistors. Power output is 13Wx2 and frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20KHz. Other features include banana plug speaker cables, an auxiliary audio cable for connecting devices like a CD player, and a video cable to display images on a TV. Sonic is offering the dock for the price of $1,000.
The Chinese media player designer Meizu has said today that it will release a new, lower-cost version of its M6. The M6 SP is largely unchanged from the original, which shows the clear influence of the iPod's chrome, gray, and white styling in a video-oriented format. Both the original M6 and its update are capable of playing XviD-encoded film clips, photos, and most common audio formats (including FLAC and OGG) on its 2.4-inch screen. The SP edition drops prices across the entire range of capacities, starting at the equivalent of $88 US for 1GB and culminating at $164 US for a 4GB model. Meizu has already said it plans to release the M6 in North America, though pricing for the SP remains unknown. [Photo courtesy of DAPReview]
Korean electronics maker Digital Cube used a press conference on Friday to introduce two new media players noteworthy for the sheer variety of features. First to be introduced was a new version of the i-Station NetForce, a portable device meant as much to connect to the Internet as for watching videos. In addition to playing back the user's own MPEG-4 videos and mobile TV using Korea's T-DMB standard, the NetForce can also connect to the Internet either through local WiFi hotspots or 3.5G cellular networks through HSDPA. The access gives users the option of transferring music from a local computer or browsing the web on a large, 800x480 display.
A smaller, more compact player known as the i-Station Mini was also announced. Though it only has a 2.4-inch 320x240 screen and drops HSDPA support, Digital Cube says the Mini maintains its T-DMB receiver. Official launch information isn't available. A gallery is available after the jump courtesy of AVING.
VidaBox has announced a pair of new Windows Media Center PCs designed to handle Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs on the same machine. The LUX and MAX are both equipped with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD drives, as well as HDCP outputs and twin HDTV tuners, allowing users to record up to four TV shows at once and play video back at 1080p. The MAX ($4,399 and up) can support up to 3TB of storage, while the LUX ($3,499 and up) can reach 3.75TB. Each computer comes with a TiVo DVR and the ability to rip regular DVDs directly to a hard drive. At present, you can only order directly from the VidaBox website.
Having already announced James Bond Edition K790 and K800 phones in conjunction with the upcoming movie Casino Royale, Sony has seen fit to announce a special version of its TX-series ultraportable. The 007 Edition VAIO TX provides multiple useful accessories that tie into the theme of espionage. While the 11.1-inch laptop itself is largely unchanged with a 1.2GHz low-voltage Core Solo, 1GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive, a privacy screen attachment prevents others from reading the display from a distance or off-angle. Appropriately, the custom edition ships with a black, 7.2-megapixel CyberShot DSC-T50B camera embossed with the 007 logo. The most unique element of Sony's bundle is a 007-themed attaché case with inserts to hold the camera, portable, and their accessories. Expectedly costly for this combination of devices, the collection is available through Sony Canada for $4299 CDN ($3821 US); a US version hasn't yet been revealed.
Based on photos taken by AVING at the Korean Electronics Show, it seems that LG is extending its Chocolate brand into the world of projectors. An unnamed LED projector is being displayed at KES in both solid black and solid white colors, and on top of each sits a control panel resembling the buttons on a Chocolate phone. Further inspection of the device appears to show support for VGA and HDMI inputs - making this LG's second foray into the world of HD projectors after the AN110 wall-mount system. The new model is considerably smaller than the 110. Click below for more photos.
Nokia has recently introduced a Bluetooth headset for dedicated cellphone users. The Wireless Image Headset is intended not for music, but as an extension of the calling functions on most Bluetooth-enabled phones. Nokia's device hangs from the neck by a lanyard and relays call information to a 128x128 screen, saving the trouble of retrieving the phone itself from a pocket. A built-in joystick can be used to navigate and even edit contact information remotely. Hands-free calling is also possible through a combination of earbuds and voice-activated dialing.
A subtle but important feature of the Wireless Image Headset is its picture function, says Nokia. Since the device oocupies a conspicuous position when worn, the screen can display the owner's choice of images as either a wallpaper when idle or a photo slideshow for friends. The headset is shipping now for $300.
At a press event yesterday, Sony demonstrated some facets of online support for its upcoming Playstation 3 console, Reuters reports. The Playstation Network will be a free service with an interface similar to Sony's PSP handheld, only now with expanded functionality such as chat, storing photos and video, greater multiplayer capabilites, and a download area called the Playstation Store. Gamers will be able to buy music, videos, extra game content and more. Some complete games (mainly older Playstation titles) will be downloadable for $15 or less. A new revelation was that to showcase the PS3's Blu-Ray movie support, Sony will be bundling the first 500,000 PS3s with copies of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." A $499 model will come with a 20GB hard drive, whereas the $599 model will include a 60GB drive, WiFi, and slots for Memory Sticks, SD cards, and CompactFlash cards.
[Updated for games and accessories] According to Pocket-lint, an extra Sixaxis gamepad (the wireless controller included with the PS3) will cost $50, and a TV-style remote for movies will cost $25. An official HDMI cable will also be priced at $50. There should be 21 game titles at the November 17th launch, with an average price point of $60.
MiniPC has just unveiled two new small form factor PCs made for performance-minded users. Of these, the LF870 series innovates by mounting a cooling fan at the top of the case. The design lets the system run quietly compared to many compact systems, says MiniPC, and keeps the interior cool enough to be reduced in size while still including a PCI Express X16 slot for dedicated graphics. The cooling also permits a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a 250GB desktop-class hard drive in the base model. MiniPC is shipping this preassembled system in Japan for the equivalent of $1153 US.
Those less concerned with graphics performance also have the choice of the VT870, which exchanges dedicated graphics and a desktop hard drive for a smaller case and even quieter acoustics. With Intel graphics and a 40GB laptop-class hard drive, the VT870 debuts at $1082 US for a complete system. Click through for large photos of both MiniPC models.
A radio can be an essential device in an emergency. Broadcasts will often tell listeners when a disaster is over, for instance, or where to go for supplies. Eton's FR350 may be the ultimate in emergency radios: not only does it receive AM, FM, and shortwave broadcasts, it comes with a built-in siren and flashlight. Also, while normally powered by NiMH batteries, a hand-crank can supply energy when all else fails. The body is water-resistant, and if you need to make a phone call, you can use the radio to recharge a cellphone. You can buy black or silver models for £40 at Nevada, or an American Red Cross-branded model for $60 US at Amazon.
The next few months will see ASUS introduce a completely new line of laptops made just for avid game players, says the head of the US reseller ProPortable. A recent forum update from the company leader has revealed early information about the G1P and G2P series of portables. Both models are known to use extensive amounts of carbon fiber, which should reduce their weight without affecting their strength. ASUS has also highlighted the W, A, S, and D keys so frequently used for first-person shooters and has a glowing jewel below the trackpad. The G1P and G2P are primarily separated by color and size: the former is a 15.4-inch system dominated by black carbon fiber and green accents, while the 17-inch G2P adds silver elements and red accents. The colors may indicate the use of NVIDIA (green) or ATI (red) graphics chipsets.
Exact specifications aren't known at this time, but ProPortable suggests the laptops may not appear until Intel's Santa Rosa mainboard chipset appears in early 2007, which will raise the system bus speed to 800MHz and improve overall performance. A backpack, a Logitech-made gaming mouse, and a webcam will also be standard. Photos of both models are available after the jump.
A dramatic upgrade to Motorola's often-maligned ROKR phone line is in the works, according to discoveries made in the FCC's online system. A recent application reveals that the ROKR E6 will eliminate many of the flaws that plagued the original while also sporting a more unique design. The E6 abandons the traditional keypad for a touchscreen and a stylus, features not seen on most music phones. Rarer still is the inclusion of a conventional SD card slot, which will both improve the maximum storage for music as well as the overall responsiveness. Other features have received equal treatment, as the 2-megapixel camera is capable of macro focus and an FM transmitter has been built-in. Click through for more details and a full photo.
TV tuner add-in cards are commonplace in home theater PCs, but Hauppage says it has released a new PCI adapter which is truly the ideal for these systems. In releasing its WinTV NOVA-T 500 card, the company claims to have produced the first expansion card that has dual digital TV tuners. Designed for Europe's DVB-T over-the-air video format, the 500 is capable of displaying one show while recording another and uses only a single antenna to receive both broadcasts. Although designed to integrate with Windows XP Media Center (and eventually Windows Vista), Hauppage's adapter comes bundled with a free program scheduler and WingSE, a software tool that can convert recorded shows to iPod or PSP format. This most recent NOVA-T model ships now for £100 ($188 US) including tax. Hauppage hasn't yet announced an equivalent that would use the North American ATSC digital broadcast standard.
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