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Microsoft and various PC manufacturers have finally solidified earlier plans to offer an upgrade to Windows Vista. According to Microsoft, the Express Upgrade program will allow buyers of select Windows XP machines (mainly from Dell, Sony, Gateway, et al.) to upgrade to Vista for free, or in some cases, at a "discounted" price. The exact details will be dependent on the vendor. Smaller PC makers defined as "system builders," for instance, will only be given discount coupons to go with Windows Vista Capable machines. All upgrade plans will only be available between October 26th and March 15th.
What version of Vista you get will be tied to the copy of XP that was installed. Media Center Edition 2005 will translate into Vista Home Premium, while Professional, Tablet PC, or Professional x64 will be upgradable to Business or Business 64 for a fee. XP Home can become either Home Basic or Home Premium, but the latter will still cost 50 percent of the retail price.
Cardo Systems has announced the scala-600, a small Bluetooth 1.2 headset with a substantial battery life. Though the headset weighs a mere 0.41 ounces, active talk time can reach up to 10 hours, and standby time is over 240 hours. The unit can pair with up to eight different devices and broadcast to a range of 33 feet. To recharge, users can use the bundled Travel Wall Charger or buy a separate USB charging cable. Cardo's BTA II adapter will let you use the 600 with non-Bluetooth phones. The headset is going to market now for $50 at US retailers.
A member of Chinese forums pcINlife claims to have acquired unpublished specifications for Nvidia's GeForce 8800GTX. According to the post, the next-generation video card will have a core clock scalable to 1.5GHz, a 384-bit interface (256 plus 128) with 768MB of total memory, and 16-bit floating point for high dynamic range support and multi-sampling anti-aliasing. Cooling will be handled with a hybrid fan/water system. A mysterious item in the list is "VCAA" anti-aliasing -- the term refers to no known rendering technique. If nothing else, the poster did manage to take what seems to be a plausible set of photos of the card. A gallery can be seen by clicking below.
Archos' 504 media player will go on sale tomorrow, says Mobile Magazine. A counterpart to the 604 WiFi, the 504 may be a "wired" player, but what it forsakes in Internet access it makes up for in increased storage. The base model will hold a conventional 40GB, but a mid-range player will hold 80GB, and the top end will store 160GB. Archos believes this is enough to load 450 movies, 1.6 million photos, or 80,000 songs. The player is otherwise feature-similar to the 604 WiFi, the only other absent selling point being a touchscreen. The 40GB player will retail for $350, the 80GB for $400, and the 160GB for $600. Check a local retailer or Archos' online store for stock.
Zettabyte has just announced a backup device and service that it hopes will replace conventional, physical-only backups. The zBox maintains the same amount of storage in an hourly online backup service hosted by Amazon as it does on its local hard drive, creating redundancy in case either the local drive is destroyed or the remote storage is inaccessible. The zBox system is protected by 256-bit AES encryption and can roll back to earlier versions of files or settings if a change proves disastrous, Zettabyte says. The device and its service are available now starting at $49 per month for 30GB of storage; more dedicated companies and individuals can subscribe to as much as 690GB of storage for $299 per month.
Creative today said it would release a special edition of its Zen V Plus music player to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The pink-tinted player will ship only in a 2GB version but marks Creative's official endorsement of the NBCF and the beginning of an education campaign on the part of both organizations. "Every time someone turns on their pink Creative ZEN V Plus... we want them to think about taking charge of breast health," says the NBCF's chief executive Kevin Hail. Features are unchanged as the V Plus continues to enjoy support for FM radio and video playback in addition to music and photos. Creative will make the Special Edition Pink Zen V Plus available in North America as of November for $140 online and in select electronics stores.
Sony's NV-U71T is a full-color GPS unit with a 3.5-inch display, but what separates it from rivals is a touchscreen technology called Gesture Command. Owners can set the unit to automatically execute certain functions when a finger is swiped in a particular pattern. Other useful aspects to the receiver are real-time traffic information and re-routing, and a map database that includes all of Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Seven million "points of interest" have been pre-programmed. If you want to buy the U71T, Sony is taking holiday pre-orders from its website for $500 whole or $15 a month.
Cingular's use of the HTC TyTN (pronounced "titan") has been confirmed, say contributors to Howard Forums. As part of an update to its website, Cingular has inadvertently posted official images of what will be known as the Cingular 8525 and has also confirmed its specifications. Unlike many imported European phones, the 8525 will retain the ability to connect to UMTS mobile Internet networks as well as Cingular's own version of HSDPA. Bluetooth and WiFi are standard, but the cellphone carrier's data sheet notes that the 2-megapixel camera may only be optional -- a significant change in approach compared to most other providers, which rarely offer more than a single version of a device. Neither pricing nor a launch date were leaked in the website revision, but Cingular's posting of this content indicates a likely introduction within the next few weeks. Click through for a larger photo.
Users who miss the aesthetics of phones circa 1970 might be interested in the ThinkGeek Bluetooth Retro Handset, which mimics older receivers but takes its calls from your mobile phone. The connection works with phones using Bluetooth 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2. A tiny LED light indicates operation. Range is 30 feet. To recharge the headset, you simply plug it into a USB port with the included cable. Since the design is a ThinkGeek original, you can order it only from the company's website for the price of $40.
Bose is finally offering its own in-canal audio product, simply dubbed the In-Ear Headphones. The central feature of the phones is their silicone tips, designed to make long-term listening a bit more comfortable. Small, medium, and large-sized tips come in the package, as does a carrying case designed to keep the phones untangled. In terms of audio fidelity, Bose is promoting a technology called TriPort, which they claim offers better low-frequency response than most earbuds. The In-Ear Headphones are on sale for $100 from the Bose website and various retailers.
The travel bag maker G-Tech recently unveiled a new, larger bag made expressly for iPod listeners. The Messenger Bag (pictured) uses the same smart fabric used in its Loaded Sound Bag and other models to save users the trouble of either using a remote or retrieving their iPod from a case in order to change songs. A fabric touchpad built into the shoulder strap can pause or skip tracks on an iPod connected inside a special pouch. Owners can also route audio from the iPod or any device with a headphone minijack into a built-in speaker system. A pouch also exists to store another small handheld safely apart from the internal cargo. G-Tech intends to launch the Messenger Bag in mid-November for $130. [Photo courtesy of Gizmag]
Spectra Video is now selling a hybrid media device that it says is ideal for computer users for whom tight living spaces might limit the available space for a separate TV. Simple in nature, the Logic 3 Super VGA Box can accept and switch between video input from multiple analog sources. TV can be played directly through a coaxial cable courtesy of a TV tuner or relayed from an outside source through RCA and S-video ports. Logic 3's device connects to a Mac or PC through a VGA connection and can display one of its video sources in a picture-in-picture window, letting viewers track a TV show without interrupting their computer use. The Super VGA Box is available now for £60 ($112 US).
Not to be confused with the V9900, Samsung has debuted the V900, an Ultra Edition clamshell phone that's tinged red and etched with decorative patterns on the exterior. The phone is just 0.39 inches thick. AVING writes that the phone has a 2.3-inch QVGA screen, as well as Bluetooth, EVDO broadband, a 2MP camera, a GPS function, a microSD slot, and an audio player that handles VOD, MOD, and MP3. Extra software includes a subway route map and a "playing with my pet" game. Pricing and distribution has yet to be announced. Click through to see the open phone.
US Modular is preparing a high-capacity version of its mid-range Monstor Drive, the company announced on Tuesday. The updated version stores as much as 12GB of data (up from 8GB) on a 1.8-inch hard drive, providing enough room for music and other valuable data that won't fit on standard flash drives. Despite the increased storage, the transfer rates on the 4200RPM USB 2.0 drive remain comparatively quick, varying between 3.3MB and 6.5MB per second depending on the activity. The drive comes in a stainless steel enclosure that has a 1500G shock resistance rating. US Modular plans to ship the revised Monstor Drive on November 1st for $130.
D-Link has announced the DHP-301, the company's answer to the burgeoning number of home networking kits that operate through powerlines. The 301 bundles Ethernet cable, two adapters, and an installation disc. Throughput tops off at 200Mbps. Like other powerline setups, the network is connected simply by threading Ethernet cable to the adapters, which are then plugged into standard power outlets. Your home's own powerlines carry the data. D-Link says that the 301 will ship online and to retail "later this quarter" for the price of $220.
Falcon Northwest, a veteran gaming system builder, took the unusual step of releasing one of its own case designs to the public. Although most boutique PC designers limit their case designs to pre-assembled systems, the FragBox is now available as a barebones case that can be outfitted with any standard micro-ATX mainboard and the user's choice of peripherals. A 750-watt, full-size ATX power supply is included; this is crucial, Falcon says, as it allows even the most demanding processors and graphics cards to run properly in the tight confines of the case. The company has tested and used Athlon 64 FX-60s and quad-SLI video cards in the chassis. NewEgg is already shipping the FragBox for $290 from its online store, linked above. Availability at other stores hasn't been announced.
T-Mobile began testing a new service late Wednesday that it says will cure many of the issues that plague cellphones. Dubbed Hotspot @ Home, the technology takes advantage of the increasing prevalence of broadband Internet access and home WiFi routers to potentially eliminate the need for more than a cellphone, according to T-Mobile. In the current Seattle-only trial, subscribers must own phones with built-in WiFi but can connect to either a wireless router at home or a T-Mobile public hotspot to switch from cellular networks to VoIP. The plan gives users unlimited calling time from these points and improves the often poor reception found in some indoor areas. These two advantages effectively allow a cellphone to replace a land line in some cases, T-Mobile says. HotSpot @ Home is currently available in the trial area for $20 per month in addition to a minimum $40 per month with a two-year contract; the two phones currently on offer sell for $50 each with these terms. T-Mobile hasn't provided details of a formal rollout beyond Seattle, but it isn't expected to be widely available until 2007.
NEC today unveiled a new 37-inch LCD set designed as much to be used at work as it is in the living room. While the MultiSync LCD3735WXM has an ATSC tuner for HDTV signals and includes component, composite, and S-video inputs, it trades the HDMI ports more common among HDTV sets for DVI and VGA connectors with HDCP support. This lets users not only connect a Mac or PC directly to the set, but also provides the option of switching between two computers' video sources. The 1366x768 display is also considerably more color-accurate than most TVs and has a 9ms response time suitable for fast video, according to NEC. The 3735WXM is expected to ship in early November for $2,299.
After months of anticipation, Apple today unveiled a significant update to its pro laptops. The new MacBook Pro uses the newer Core 2 Duo processor, which adds 64-bit support and 4MB of cache, increasing performance by as much as 39%, according to Apple's testing. The company has also addressed several concerns with the previous 15-inch model, adding a 6X dual-layer DVD rewriter, a brighter screen, and a FireWire 800 port to the existing configurations.
As before, Apple is offering two different 15-inch systems as well as a single 17-inch variant. The $1999 entry model sports a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, and a 120GB hard drive; upgrading to the $2499 version improves the CPU to 2.33GHz, doubles the RAM to 2GB, and doubles the video RAM to 256MB. The flagship 17-inch version primarily improves storage, increasing the DVD write speed to 8X and offering a 160GB hard drive. Apple is shipping the 15-inch models today; the 17-inch version will be available next week.
Samsung used the recent Korea Electronics Show to unveil what is likely the slimmest mainstream phone yet available. Its V9900 handset is only 0.27 inches thick, rendering it thinner still than even the company's own T-Mobile Trace. Even so, Samsung says it hasn't sacrificed features to achieve these dimensions. As available now, the V9900 has a two-megapixel camera, a 320x240 screen, and MP3 music playback support. While no plans have been formally announced to release the phone in the US, in its current form it connects to CDMA networks and supports EVDO -- pointing to a possible introduction with US cellular providers such as Verizon in the coming months.
Click through for a gallery, courtesy of AVING.
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