News Archive for 06/11/06

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Flic Scanner Media Organizer rivals Delicious Library

11/06, 4:10pm

Flic Media Organizer

Functioning as a Windows equivalent to Delicious Library for the Mac, Flic Scanner is now offering its Media Organizer as a simpler way to catalog and track extensive collections of books, movies, and music. By reading barcodes with the bundled USB laser scanner, Flic's software automatically obtains complete data for most items; CDs and DVDs in particular receive extensive information that the company says can be useful for difficult searches, such as individual track listings for CDs and the main cast for most movies. Owners can track borrowed copies and can export their libraries in HTML, XML, or raw text values for other programs to use. Flic says the scanner and organizing software ship together for $200.

LG Chocolate phone comes to Canada

11/06, 4:00pm

LG Chocolate goes Canadian

Telus has become the first Canadian service provider to issue an LG Chocolate phone. Their version is a variant on the LG 8500, which has features like a wheel for browsing music and a 1.3MP camera. MicroSD cards can store music, photos and videos. Wireless Internet access is provided through 1x EVDO. Telus' enhancements include direct music downloads, as well as TV streamed in real-time. Users can also opt to buy the "Hot Chocolate SPARK Music Box Limited Edition," which costs $70 CDN and bundles a transparent carrying case, a Plantronics Bluetooth headset, and a 1GB microSD card. Until November 29th, the base Chocolate can be had for $130 under a three-year contract, or $180 for two years. One-year and zero-contract options are permanently priced at higher amounts.

Verizon to carry LG Black Sapphire phone

11/06, 3:35pm

Verizon Black Sapphire

Verizon has opted to include the Black Sapphire flip-phone in its near future lineup, online sources report. Best-known as a clamshell equivalent to the LG Chocolate which has already proven popular with Verizon subscribers, the Black Sapphire will switch from GSM to Verizon's CDMA networks, bringing with it the option of connecting to EVDO for Internet access. The design primarily improves on the Chocolate by including separate music controls on the outer shell. Expected to ship for Verizon subscribers on November 15th, the Sapphire will be priced at $250 without a contract, or as little as $180 with a two-year plan.

Hasbro Massively Mini Media player

11/06, 3:10pm

Hasbro Mini Media Player

Following the recent release of a Fisher-Price jukebox, toymaker Hasbro has launched its own player for older children. Meant for ages 8 and up, the Massively Mini Media gives more control while still addressing a younger audience. A completely touch-sensitive control pad is said to prevent buttons from breaking, while two headphone jacks are built in so friends can listen using their own earbuds. The bundled earbuds also discourage accidents by doubling as a lanyard, hanging safely from a child's neck. Support is provided for MP3 and WMA audio as well as short AVI and WMV video clips on its built-in 128MB of flash storage; FM radio tuning and recording are equally possible, says Hasbro. The player ships immediately in green, pink, or silver trim for $69.

Sub-$400 Wal-Mart laptop available; $200 soon?

11/06, 2:40pm

Sub-$400 Laptop Available

Although information about the release surfaced in advance of the launch, Wal-Mart today began shipping to stores its budget laptop aimed at capturing holiday sales in advance of Thanksgiving. As confirmed previously, the 15.4-inch Presario V5305WM lowers its price to an unprecedented $398 by using a low-cost 2GHz AMD Sempron processor, 512MB of RAM, and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. The new system should be available at retail as of today.

However, this may not be the lowest-priced portable available as of this month, according to NPD TechWorld analyst Stephen Baker. "We're probably going to see a $199 notebook on Black Friday," he says. Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, is often regarded as the single largest day of shopping in the US and often features heavy discounts by retailers to draw in as many customers as possible.

AUDIOBONE MGD-04 bone-conducting headphones

11/06, 2:15pm

AUDIOBONE Headphones

Japanese firm Pegaso recently updated its AUDIOBONE headphone line with the new MGD-04. As with the company's earlier models, the MGD-04 relies on bone conduction instead of speakers, broadcasting audio through bones near the ear canal rather than covering the ear itself. This both eliminates the need for a strong amplifier and lets the hard of hearing listen to music at higher quality, Pegaso writes. It also minimizes the effect of wind and other outside sources on the final output. The entire design, including a street-style headband, is designed to be compact and weighs only 60 grams. No release details for the new AUDIOBONE model are currently available.

LG announces BD100 Blu-ray player

11/06, 2:10pm

LG BD100 Blu-ray player

LG has revealed the BD100, its first production Blu-ray player, says Pocket-lint. The 100 should play dual- and single-layer Blu-ray discs, as well as standard CD and DVD formats. Audio inputs will support 5.1 surround and digital optical out, while video inputs will include HDMI, component, composite and coaxial. Resolutions will be upsamplable to as high as 1080p. This is not LG's first attempt at a Blu-ray player -- the initial model was intended to be the BD199, but deployment of the unit was cancelled. The 100 should ship in the first quarter of 2007 at a "competitive" price.

Firebox carries USB Drum Kit

11/06, 1:40pm

Firebox USB Drum Kit

Online retailer Firebox has just released its USB Drum Kit, a compact drum set made solely for PCs. The instrument uses the same principles behind electronic drum sets to provide backing percussion for audio recordings or just to replicate the sound of a full drum through a computer's headphones or speakers, Firebox says. The bundled software can produce any of 233 different drum sounds and over 50 rhythm patterns to use as reference points while playing. All the cymbals and drums are velocity-sensitive, allowing both dramatic and subtle taps; similarly, any pad can be choked to deaden the sustain from each note. The Drum Kit can be imported from Firebox for $248 US.

Vadim Computers' ultra high-end gaming PC

11/06, 1:15pm

Vadim ultra high-end PC

UK company Vadim Computers has designed a custom gaming system with extremely high-end specifications. Coming in a neon-lit Lian-Li case, the computer has an Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme processor, with each core running at 2.66GHz. Its twin GeForce 8800GTX cards supply video acceleration, and an Ageia PhysX accelerator boosts game physics. System RAM starts at 2GB of DDR2 but can be upgraded to 8GB. Likewise, the stock hard drives are two 150GB Raptors, but they can be swapped to create a RAID setup with up to four 500GB drives. Other noteworthy features include CD-RW and DVD-RW drives, as well as two FireWire ports and six USB ports. The base machine costs 4,622 ($8,786) before VAT.

Belkin unveils its first Zune accessories

11/06, 1:05pm

Belkin Zune Accessories

Belkin revealed today that it will help the fledgling Zune accessory market by launching several new accessories for protecting and listening to the new Microsoft player. Five new cases will make their debut in time for the Zune's November 14th launch, including the Folio Kickstand (pictured, $30)), a leather case that can rest upright in landscape mode for videos. Other releases include the clear Acrylic Case ($30), the microfiber Holster Case ($30), a neoprene Sports Armband ($30), and the basic Sports Jacket ($20).

Additionally, Belkin has announced two travel accessories: the TuneBase FM is a car-mounted FM transmitter that can charge the Zune as well as play its audio through a nearby stereo, while the TunePower external battery pack adds as much as 6 hours of playback time and serves as a kickstand when watching videos. These two devices are expected to ship in late November for $80 and $60 respectively. Click through for a photo of the Acrylic Case.

Cingular imports Treo 750 from Europe, offers rebates

11/06, 12:35pm

Cingular imports Treo 750

An image from Flickr suggests that Cingular is importing Palm's Treo 750, a smartphone previously limited to Europe. The 750 incorporates features not seen in the 680, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and a 1.3MP camera. The 750 also runs Windows Mobile 5.0 instead of Palm OS. Most notable however may be the $100 rebate Cingular is offering for the Treos, as well as the option of cameraless models for security-minded corporations. All rebate deals will end on December 30th. Another phone subject to the offer will be the Samsung Blackjack, a North American GSM version of the i320, says CrunchGear.

Samsung intros Q40 ultraportable with mobile TV

11/06, 11:45am

Samsung Q40 Laptop

Available in an earlier form for certain parts of Europe, an updated version of Samsung's Q40 was introduced on Monday in the company's native Korea. In contrast to the recently unveiled Sony VAIO G, the newer Q40 trades some of its built-in storage for its role as a bridge between laptops and portable media players. While the DVD rewriter bundled with the system is external, this current Q40 model adds support for the DMB mobile TV standard common in Korea and other parts of southeast Asia, and can connect to mobile broadband through either HSDPA or less common WiBro networks. This lets owners watch their favorite shows or browse the Web before they arrive home, according to Samsung. Despite its comparatively large 12-inch screen, the system is 0.93 inches thick and weighs only 2.4 pounds. A 1.1GHz Core Solo, 1GB of RAM, and a 60GB hard disk help the system outperform the portable media centers which are increasingly popular in Korea. Samsung hopes to ship the new model for $2,287 US in its home country. A close-up photo is available after the jump, courtesy of Akihabara News.

Snap Circuits circuit boards for kids

11/06, 11:35am

Circuit boards for kids

Elenco is selling a product called Snap Circuits, a series of circuit boards meant to teach kids electronics. The units come with pre-made parts such as batteries and conductors, which can be assembled into as many as 750 or more different devices, including burglar alarms, FM radios, and digital voice recorders. Each part is individually colored and numbered for easier recognition. The number of possible projects depends on the model; the SC-100 is limited to 100, and correspondingly, the highest-end model is the SC-750. The boards are available from several different sources, such as Elenco or Speedydog.

Medion produces special edition Swarovski laptop

11/06, 11:05am

Medion Swarovski Laptop

System builder Medion has released a limited-edition laptop designed for style-conscious women. The Swarovski Notebook features over 300 clear and pink Swarovski crystals, highlighting the logo and a floral pattern on the outer lid. The body is also encased in a pale pink shell. Performance hasn't been neglected at the expense of design, Medion says: the 12-inch widescreen system sports a 1.73GHz Core Duo, 100GB hard drive, and a DVD rewriter. A full 1GB of memory, Bluetooth, and an SD card reader are also standard. The Swarovski model is available from Medion today for 1,000 ($1,896 US).

Cingular announces 8525 PDA with HSDPA broadband

11/06, 10:45am

Cingular 8525 PDA w/HSDPA

Cingular will soon introduce the 8525 Pocket PC, what the company claims will be the first PDA in North America with HSDPA (and UMTS) broadband. The product is being aimed at business customers, but is also being sold for its entertainment capabilities, such as games, music, a 2MP camera, and video through MobiTV. It will go online through Cingular's BroadbandConnect service, which is currently ready in 134 US markets and has an average download speed of 400-700Kbps. Users who wander outside broadband service areas will be automatically switched to the Cingular EDGE network. The 8525 will go on sale November 16th for $400, and should be available at every Cingular sales outlet.

Nikon D40 budget camera enroute?

11/06, 10:30am

Nikon D40 Enroute

With the recent introduction of Nikon's D80 already targeting a larger portion of the mid-range DSLR camera market, the company is now planning to introduce a camera that will target the most basic of DSLR users, according to a product posting listed and since removed by German retailer Neckermann. If accurate, the information reveals that the upcoming D40 would potentially undercut Canon's Digital Rebel XTi as one of the least expensive DSLRs available. The projected specifications would lower the price by limiting the D40 to a 6-megapixel sensor and 3-point focusing as well as strip away the built-in auto-focus motors and dedicated status displays of higher-end models. The compact size of the camera is also expected to dictate the use of SD cards. No launch information was provided by Neckelmann. Full photos of the camera are available after the jump.

NVIDIA acquires PortalPlayer

11/06, 10:00am

NVIDIA Gets PortalPlayer

NVIDIA announced on Monday that it would be acquiring chip designer PortalPlayer for $357 million. The acquisition is described by NVIDIA as an extension of the company's experience with graphics into the realm of handhelds, such as portable media players and smartphones. "We intend to drive the next digital revolution, where the mobile device becomes our most personal computer," NVIDIA's president Jen-Hsun Huang says. While NVIDIA has experience developing for handhelds with its GoForce video chipset, the company has never had its own complete devices. The move will see PortalPlayer, who is well-known for producing some of the processors that drive the iPod and other media players, integrate its own technology with NVIDIA to create a platform for future handhelds. Neither company has formally announced new hardware or a timetable for the first product of the merger.

Motorola KRZR K1m now shipping with Sprint

11/06, 9:25am

KRZR K1m at Sprint

Sprint has announced that its version of Motorola's KRZR K1m is now shipping both to stores and through its own website. The Sprint edition of the music phone successor to the RAZR comes in a completely black, glossy finish and is compatible with the majority of Sprint's more advanced services, including EVDO broadband, downloadable movies and TV clips, and direct purchases from the Sprint music store. Features remain otherwise unchanged. Sprint retails the phone for $399 without a contract or $200 with a one-year agreement.

TeleSpial launches TrackStick Pro GPS receiver

11/06, 9:00am

TrackStick Pro GPS

TeleSpial has just released an upgraded version of its TrackStick GPS mapping device. The TrackStick Pro is intended for long-distance drivers and includes four times the memory of the original, providing several weeks or more of tracking at regular intervals that can range between 5 seconds and 60 minutes, TeleSpial says. The Pro model ships with both a 12-volt car charger and a car mount to keep the tracker powered and in a safe position for extended travel. Unlike the more basic version, the Pro can remain plugged into a computer through USB for live updating, improving its usefulness for frequent laptop users. The company has also tamper-proofed the Pro version by including a silent alarm that records whenever the power is cut, preventing thieves or unscrupulous company drivers from abusing the device without the owner's knowledge. The TrackStick Pro currently sells from TrackStick.ca for $300 CDN ($266 US) but should be available in its home United States as well.

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