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Fresh from exporting the Cube 2 to North America, Korean outfit mobiBLU is now exporting the DAH-2100 and the US2 (pictured). The 2100 comes in 1 and 2GB models, displays photos and videos, and plays FM, MP3, Ogg, and WMA audio. Files can be sped up or down with tempo control, while voice and radio can be recorded. Information is somewhat hazier on the US2; features are generally similar to the 2100, except that the US2 has a RAZR-like appearance, an additional 4GB version, and SRS WOW HD sound enhancement. The 2100 variants sell for $90 and $100 respectively, and a 2GB US2 can be found at Amazon for $130, though stock of new units is presently out.
Arriving just weeks after several budget color printers, Canon's higher-end PIXMA MP960 all-in-one has been unveiled. Distinguishing itself from the other models, the MP960 has a full seven ink tanks that achieve quality rivaling that of photo labs, Canon boasts. A full-quality 4 x 6-inch photo can be completed in approximately 35 seconds. This multi-function printer also sports a flatbed scanner that achieves a sharp 4800 x 4800 DPI while minimizing light distortion, and as a copier includes auto exposure correction to prevent the transparency effect in thin pages. Unifying all three roles is the previously introduced scroll wheel interface that controls the visual menu system on the MP960's built-in 3.5-inch LCD. Canon is shipping this newest PIXMA for $400.
While Microsoft is heavily promoting the Zune as a revolutionary device, former Microsoft technology evangelist and now podcasting expert Robert Scoble has criticized the player today in his blog, pointing to the media player's lack of appeal to the technology-driven early adopters that often determine new electronics' long-term success.
"As an edge case, IE, someone who tries all the latest stuff and gets excited about a lot of it, the Zune abjectly fails [for me]. It does not have a killer feature. Sorry, Microsoft, sharing songs is not it," he says.
In particular, Scoble cites the Zune's lack of easy integration with podcasts as a critical flaw, describing it as out of step with iPod owners' more advanced listening habits. "Apple gets this trend, Microsoft doesn't," he writes. While defending the Zune against unfair criticism of its design, Scoble notes that the player's initial form is often merely adequate relative to the iPod and doesn't provide the necessary motivation to convert potential buyers.
Coincidental to the American release of a SLVR L7 rival, Motorola has announced the L7e, a revision of the popular cellphone. This edition adds a glossy blue veneer to the keypad and a software interface that mirrors the KRZR. Also new to the L7e are push-to-talk and push-to-view functions, the latter working with new streaming video capabilities. Other hardware upgrades include stereo Bluetooth 2, a 1.3MP camera with 8x zoom, and GPRS/EDGE Class 10 Internet connectivity. The Media Editor software will allow you to make minor alterations to photos, which (like your music) can be stored on MicroSD cards as big as 2GB. Motorola expects the L7e to be available sometime in the remainder of 2006.
Catering to football enthusiasts who enjoy putting their affiliations on public display, Harbro has recently released its Helmet MP3 Player. The 1GB flash player is available with custom shells that represent the logos of most major college and university football team in the US, including the military teams. Aside from their distinctive design, all models can receive FM radio as well as play MP3 and WMA files; music is managed on a two-color OLED display and is transferred through a hybrid headphone/USB jack. The player is supported by both MacOS X and Windows PCs courtesy of its drag-and-drop music loading, Harbro says, and is available for pre-order now at a $99 price. The firm anticipates shipping its first orders on November 27th.
ThinkGeek has begun carrying the single-purposed USB Skype Phone in its online store. The handset is designed with the sole function of interfacing with Skype on a PC to streamline the process of making VoIP calls, the company says, but includes multiple features that other devices lack such as support for custom ringtones, noise-canceling microphone hardware, and a bottom-half design that allows the USB cord to move freely during a call. The LCD display is capable of displaying both immediate call information as well as the contact list and the previous call history. ThinkGeek is shipping its phone now for $25.
Despite promises that its second-generation iPod shuffle would ship by the end of October, the diminutive flash-based player is now likely to arrive only in mid-November, CNET reports. A discussion with an employee at San Francisco's flagship Apple retail store revealed that the store doesn't expect to receive stock for at least "a couple more weeks," as quoted by CNET's James Kim. Apple hasn't provided an official explanation for the unusual two-month delay between announcement and release, though CNET and other industry experts have suggested factory delays and possible shortages of the device's 1GB flash memory chips as holiday demand increases.
Cowon's iAudio F2 is an unusual compact media player shaped like a cellphone. The 2GB device can display text or JPEG photos, run video at 128x160, or play MP3, ASF, FLAC, Ogg, WAV and WMA music files. It can also be used as a pure storage drive with computers running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. An FM radio lets you listen live or record a broadcast for future playback, using the F2's alarm clock function to set timing. Sound output is a relatively powerful 60mW, which is further enhanced by a five-band EQ and 3D virtualization. You can find the player for $125-130 at various online retailers including Newegg and B&H.
The peripheral designer Trust has produced a mouse it hopes is ideal for computer users who want an easy to find, visually interesting controller. The company's USB MultiColour Mouse has an LED trim that cycles between seven different colors while plugged into an active computer. Tracking is handled by an optical sensor with a comparatively high 800 DPI sensitivity. Although a standard three-button scrollwheel mouse, the symmetric design is ambidextrous, according to Trust. It works with Macs and Windows PCs and is ready to ship for $15.
JBL is planning its own set of Bluetooth headphones for iPods, an FCC approval filing revealed today. The test results show the JBL 610, a set of over-the-ear headphones designed with the same style as the company's Creature desktop speakers. The set is designed with the iPod in mind and includes a transmitter that will attach to the Dock Connector on fourth-generation and newer iPods. While the 610s are expected to share features with other Bluetooth headphones, like music controls built into one of the earpieces and 8-10 hours of playback time, JBL adds that the headphones are made for travelers and will be bundled with a dual-format airline power adapter and a port for traditional line-in audio when the batteries expire. Availability hasn't been set but is likely by early next year. Click through for a gallery of additional photos.
Niro's newest line of virtual speakers has arrived in the US, providing simulated surround sound for listeners who can't justify the cost or space of a full setup. Each package deal comes with a subwoofer, a single speaker bar, and an amplifier loaded with Niro's virtualization firmware. The new Niro speakers are touted as having an "expanded soundstage and enhanced surround effects, thanks in part to new digital filtering software and the extra wide speaker cabinet." The highest-end model (the 1000) also comes with a secondary amp for the subwoofer. Owners of earlier Niro setups can upgrade to the new technology for less simply by buying a new speaker separately, and using a bundled memory card to update the old amplifier's firmware. The Niro packages are available in four different grades: the 420 ($580), 620 ($780), 800 ($990), and 1000 ($1,390).
Believing that many radio listeners seek a closer link between FM and their music players, ADSTech recently began shipping its Instant FM Music USB tuner. The small adapter plugs into a host computer and identifies each song played as broadcast through the device, creating a playlist that reflects actual track information. Users can also record shows and create separate files for each song, easing the process of transferring music to a CD or portable music player afterwards. The Instant FM can also recognize the RDS information embedded in many radio signals and can also record Internet-based stations, ADSTech says. Bundled with an external antenna and a traveling pouch, the Instant FM is immediately available for $49.
Latte has released the Slim11b, a phone directly aimed at Motorola's SLVR L7. The phone is promoted as smaller than the L7 at 4.2x1.7x0.4 inches, and it boasts a 1.3MP camera that can be used for stills or recording video. Its screen is a 1.9" LCD with 260,000 colours, and for storage, it has 64MB of built-in NAND memory plus a T-Flash expansion slot for the likes of MP3 audio and MP4 video. SMS, MMS, and WAP are also incorporated. In terms of software the Slim has three games, an organizer, world clocks, a stopwatch, and more. The phone is on sale now for $250 and can be used with any GSM carrier in the Americas, such as Cingular or T-Mobile.
Apple is planning to produce a mainstream 15-inch MacBook, according to a financial analyst speaking to the Chinese trade paper Commercial Times. As reported by the paper, Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia analyst Vincent Chen claims that he has confirmed the production of a 15.4-inch system that would become available in May. Taiwan-based contractor and long-time Apple supplier Foxconn will assemble the laptops, Chen says. While these reports are periodically inaccurate, the design will mark a radical departure for Apple if true. The company has until now differentiated its portable lines by size as well as by features, with even the recent MacBook and MacBook Pro lines continuing to use different-size screens despite an increased similarity in features. The move may reflect an attempt by Apple to capitalize on the recent success of MacBooks as key factors in its resurgence.
If you can't be bothered with fishing out discs every time, or you have an ample supply of "backup" video files, a company called Dcube is manufacturing a hard drive-based player called the M-Vision. AVING notes that the player can not only play AVI and MPEG files encoded with DivX or XviD, but also ISO, VIB and IFO files, normally associated with DVD rips. ASF and WMV videos are supported as well. Resolution scales to 1080i, and DVI, component, composite and S-Video inputs are available. Supported audio formats include AAC, MP3, Ogg, PCM, AC3, and DTS. External storage can be added by hooking up a USB 2.0 hard drive, or else connecting to a PC via Ethernet or wireless 802.11b/g. An add-on DVD drive is optional. No pricing or localization information has been published.
Lapworks has recently introduced its Ergo Laptop Riser. The Riser uses a portrait-style support that can adjust to angles of 15, 25, or 35 degrees. This allows the stand to quickly switch between shallow angles, for using the laptop on a tall desk or with its built-in keyboard, and steeper levels for the desktop replacement role. The stand can also fold completely flat for travel, Lapworks writes. Rubber pads prevent the laptop from slipping out of position, and concavities on either side provide room for heat to escape underneath. The Ergo Laptop Riser is designed for 15-inch and smaller laptops and ships now for $20.
Kenwood today updated its Music Keg line for Japanese listeners. The new M1G and M2G players emphasize sound quality over the number of features. An updated digital amplifier dramatically improves the signal-to-noise ratio, Kenwood claims, ensuring cleaner sound without the need for better earphones. The company also notes that, as is increasingly common in Japan, the new Music Keg models can use an adapter to import music directly from a CD, MiniDisc, or other audio source, removing the necessity of a PC for loading songs. Both player versions can play back MP3, WAV, and WMA songs, tune into and record FM radio, and are primarily separated only by capacity: the M1G holds 1GB of flash memory, while the M2G doubles that figure. Both should be available in a suite of metallic colors beginning in early November for the equivalent of $168 US for the M1G. A North American launch hasn't been planned, though Kenwood notes that the player supports English menus.
Acer senior corporate VP Jim Wong has openly challenged Microsoft's pricing for the Home editions of Windows Vista, according to a report by PCPro. The executive notes that many of the most frequently promoted features of Vista, such as the Aero Glass 3D-accelerated interface and Media Center software, are conspicuously absent from Home Basic, pushing buyers towards the more expensive -- and for Microsoft, more lucrative -- Home Premium.
"Right at the beginning they started talking about the experience of [Vista Home] Premium. Premium is the real Vista," Wong says.
Online importer Brando is now carrying a USB card reader built for cellphone users. The iMONO SD To Go SIM Card Reader not only accepts card formats typically used by cellphones for music, including microSD and miniSD, but also the SIM cards that store a given phone's account information. This helps cellphone owners not only transfer files to and from a host computer, but to back up their account information in case the SIM card is lost, Brando says. To that extent, the iMONO reader includes SIM card editing software that can edit the address book and other freely-accessible information on the card. The reader works with both Macs and Windows PCs and is shipping from Brando for $16.
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