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Shoppers at Think Geek can be put on a list for the WiFi Gmail/Flickr Enabled LCD Frame, due in stock December 10th. What distinguishes the eStarling product from its competitors is software support for e-mail and Flickr feeds. After inserting Flickr RSS addresses into the included application, the frame will automatically pull new images from the feeds as they become available. Likewise, the frame can be given its own POP address to accept photos by e-mail. Offline users can add photos via CF or SD card readers. The going price for the seven-inch frame is $250.
Proporta is selling the Solar Bluetooth GPS Receiver, a somewhat unusual device in that it doesn't display data on its own screen; instead, it sends information to Bluetooth-enabled PDAs and smartphones. The screen has been replaced with a solar panel that "trickle-charges" the battery in both direct and ambient light. A drained receiver can be fully charged in about four hours using the included car adapter. If users have a TomTom GO, that can be used to provide planning and multilingual vocal directions. The Solar Bluetooth costs $110.
Australian company 22Moo has just previewed a new set of video glasses that it hopes will break through psychological price barriers. Users of the new HMD800 will see an 800x225 widescreen image equivalent to a 30-inch television viewed at a distance of 2 meters (6.6 feet). It can display video from any standard RCA input in either NTSC or PAL formats and is purposefully designed for newer iPods with photo or video capability. Playback lasts for up to 8 hours on a lithium-ion battery, claims 22Moo, and the frame can adjust to almost any head size. The HMD800 should be available to North America, Australia, and New Zealand by the end of this year for $199 US, a price considerably lower than for most portable video viewers.
Turning the notion of digital music on its head, Axxen Korea has unveiled the Playdisc, an MP3 player designed to be treated like CD or MiniDisc album. The product was demonstrated at this week's Korean Electronics Show. Mobile Magazine reports that once songs are loaded into memory, users simply plug in headphones, an AAA battery, and go. Because the Playdisc's storage is limited to 128MB, the idea is that a listener keep several players to represent his album collection. Axxen has yet to say when, where and at what price the Playdisc will ship.
ViaMichelin has just released a new, higher-end GPS unit for those who need more advanced navigation in Europe. An update of the earlier X950 XT, the X980T has a comparatively large 4.3-inch touchscreen that the company says has enough room to display multiple real-time maps: while a 3D view shows upcoming traffic, a smaller 2D view shows the next turn so drivers can recognize its shape in advance. The X980T similarly expands on the typical point-of-interest feature by including 51,000 hotels and restaurants from the company's own Michelin Guides Europe 2006 so that travelers can make reservations at any point along the route. Built-in Bluetooth and a speaker ensure that the GPS device can double as a speakerphone. ViaMichelin says the X980T is available now for £449 ($840 US).
Users who value capacity and compactness over speed or price may be interested in the Kanguru Flash Drive Max, a stick that holds 16 to 64GB and measures a mere 3.6 inches long. The product also touts an aluminum frame and proprietary Windows security software, but the write speed is a miniscule 1MB/s, and the cost is a minimum of $750. At 1MB/s it should take a little less than nine hours to completely fill a 32GB Max. The drive is compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports on Windows, Mac and Linux systems. You can order straight from Kanguru, or else from third-party retailers like TigerDirect.
Archos has announced the 604 WiFi, a new version of the company's present flagship media player. Unlike Microsoft's forthcoming Zune, the 604 WiFi will make broad use of wireless technology to enable web browsing and direct file access from a WLAN. Browsing will be handled via Opera. Moreover, Archos is also pre-loading software support for SHOUTcast Internet radio, IPTV on DSL, and podcast aggregation through Podcatcher. The player will be controlled primarily via the 4.3-inch, 32-bit color touch screen, which will interact with a 30GB hard drive capable of holding music (AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA), photos (BMP, JPEG, PNG), or video (H.264, MPEG-2/4, WMV). An optional DVR station will allow TV recording. Pricing and availability information is currently unpublished.
Numerous companies are commemorating the fifth anniversay of the iPod with new accessories, including new running equipment announced today by iSoundCap. The company's new Running Hat has a secure neoprene pouch mounted on the side that keeps the iPod safe while also removing loose cords that could tangle during brisk movement. The hat itself is a mesh design that prevents overheating and ships in colors that match those of the new iPod nano, including the Product (RED) edition. iSoundCap says the headwear is compatible with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit's receiver. The company hasn't yet established a release date or pricing.
Sony has announced the FE40 and the FX40, a pair of new video projectors in the LCD Pro line. The FE40 (pictured) will have HDMI support, SXGA+ resolution, 1.3x digital zoom, 4,000-lumen brightness, and a 3LCD panel. The FX40 will come with similar features, but will be restricted to XGA resolution. The former system should go on sale at an "open price" in January, while the latter will ship in February under the same scheme.
Japananese recording engineer Suenori Fukui has developed a CD made out of glass, writes the Mainichi Daily News. Though it may sound like a novelty, the use of glass has several advantages, including durability. Plastic CDs can be subject to bending or warping in areas of high heat or humidity; glass CDs should have no such problems. Also, the transparency of glass allows lasers to better penetrate the surface, resulting in higher audio quality. The one drawback to the technology is the cost, currently fixed at 98,700 yen ($831) per handmade disc. One recording is on the market: an N&F Label release of Bach's "Air on a G String." The price is expected to drop substantially as more discs are produced.
While Windows Vista is only weeks from completion, reports are now surfacing that Microsoft's future OS may have significant problems above and beyond typical first-release copies, according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. Citing premier developer Sandro Villinger, Foley notes that the user interfance consistency and speed fall short of what would be expected in a shipping copy.
"My computer has a 4.2 rating and a GeForce 7800 which should be enough to run some of those [visual] effects. [However,] even one of the fastest machines out there needs almost two seconds to open Control Panel and even one to two (seconds) to go to the Security section," Villinger says.
Other high-priority testers observe that even official Microsoft programs, such as Live Meeting 2005, still don't work properly with Vista while a lack of drivers persists in this late stage. Regardless, some of these same critics argue that the OS will be ready in time for manufacturing in November, pointing out that many companies withhold drivers and software updates for a new Windows version until it ships. "XP shippped with issues that they fixed later on," says tester Brandon LeBlanc. Vista will only be available to the public at large in January 2007.
As part of a larger initiative by BitTorrent to encourage the use of its distributed downloading technology in hardware, ASUS today released two new wireless routers with built-in BitTorrent clients. The highlight of these two models is the WL-500W, which ASUS says is the world's first 802.11n router that can download files from BitTorrent, FTP, or HTTP sites without requiring software on the computer. Users can either transfer files directly from the router to their computer at the 300Mbps theoretical maximum of the draft 802.11n standard or else store them on an external USB 2.0 hard drive. The latter option gives owners the choice of downloading files even when the systems attached to the router are turned off, states ASUS. An FTP server and remote management also give the choice of queuing or downloading files from outside the local network.
Also announced is the simpler WL-500g Premium, which has many of the same features but is limited only to 802.11b/g networks. The company notes that its single-antenna design still allows for up to three times greater wireless coverage than most other 802.11g devices. ASUS hasn't yet established official pricing for either wireless router, but both models will ship to North America soon.
Panasonic has put into production the TH-103PF9, reputedly the largest plasma TV set in the world, TrustedReviews says. Measuring in at 103 inches, the set supports native 1080p resolution with 16-bit image processing, which is four times as powerful as 14-bit processing. This gives the set up to 4,096 color gradation steps and a contrast ratio of 5,000:1. Availability will be extremely limited for the forseeable future, however. Panasonic is aiming the display primarily at businesses such as airports and trade shows, and the few home units on sale will be prohibitively expensive. The TH-103PF9 is a European model that will retail for £30,000-60,000; Panasonic says that an American model, the TH-103PZ600U (pictured), will be available in December for $70,000.
Palm's Treo 680 smartphone will be coming to the Cingular network, Engadget reports. Based on a PowerPoint document obtained by the website, it appears that the 680 will come with Palm OS 5.4.9, five-tabbed quick access (dial, favorites, home, contacts, call log), quad-band GSP/GPRS/EDGE, a 312MHz XScale processor, a 2.2-inch 320x320 screen, SDIO, Bluetooth 1.2, IR, PocketTunes, and a 1200mAh battery. One unusual aspect of the PowerPoint file is the list of compatible mail clients: it mentions Good, XpressMail, BlackBerry Connect, and something called "Microsoft Direct Push (Q1,'07)." This may be a means of getting "push" e-mail straight from an Exchange server for free, without a BES conduit.
LG recently released a new line of fashion-oriented LCDs in its normally conservative lineup. Finished in a glossy black, the L1900 series focuses on the display stand as a style element rather than just a physical support. The inside of the stand -- which is either shaped as a partial eclipse, jar, or ring depending on the model -- emits an ambient red light whose brightness can be adjusted depending on a room's light level and the user's desired effect. The L1900's 19-inch display also features an unparalleled 2,000:1 contrast ratio, according to LG, and has a 4ms response time to do away with ghosting in fast-motion games and movies. No immediate launch details have been announced.
Princeton has released a new speaker dock system in Japan which it believes is ideal for not just iPods, but computers as well. Its i-Tube has a cylindrical housing for its two 8-watt satellites that can fit directly underneath a computer screen; the system was designed to fit perfectly underneath an Apple Cinema Display, according to Princeton. Importantly, says Princeton, the i-Tube also has a 16-watt subwoofer for extra bass response even in these small environments. The externalized iPod dock included with the system can either be charged and synchronized directly with a Mac or PC through a USB connection, and can also exist as a stand-alone bookshelf stereo. Music from an attached iPod can be controlled through either large control buttons on the dock itself or a wireless remote. Available in black or a silver and white combination, the i-Tube is currently shipping with open pricing in Japan. A gallery is available after the jump.
Nokia on Monday said it would provide T-Mobile's US branch with a uniquely enhanced flip-phone. The 6133 is an improvement upon the earlier 6126 already in use at some carriers that adds FM radio to the previous version's existing AAC and MP3 support. The keypad and navigation controls have also been adjusted, says Nokia. Features are otherwise the same but still impressive to many mid-range phones: the 6133 has a large 2.2-inch screen capable of displaying 16 million colors, a 1.3-megapixel camera that can take advantage of this increased color depth in photo previews, EDGE broadband support, and a microSD slot that can hold up to 1GB of music or other files. T-Mobile has said the phone will be available as of today, but hasn't formally announced pricing.
A photo of the open handset can be found after the jump.
While Samsung's recent phones have been aimed at Korea, the company today unveiled an advanced phone meant specifically for the American carrier Cingular. Called the A707, the new flip-phone design is unique in the US for its blend of next-generation Internet access and music support. The device supports Cingular's HSDPA mobile broadband network -- a rarity, as most Cingular phones and coverage areas support only the slower EDGE format. As a music phone, the A707 is equally advanced through its dedicated music controls on the outer shell and the ability to play not only AAC, MP3, and RealAudio, but also WMA in protected and unprotected formats as well. This leaves the A707 as one of the few music phones capable of playing music bought from online stores such as Napster or URGE. A 2-megapixel camera and Bluetooth complement these features in what Samsung says is a very thin (0.69 inches) handset. Cingular hasn't officially announced availability for the A707, but should do so within the next few weeks.
Click through for photos courtesy of Akihabara News.
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