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Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix Z5fd, the third camera (after the F31fd and the S6500fd) to use the company's Face Detection technology. When shooting a portrait, an FD camera prioritizes faces while judging autofocus and exposure. Up to ten faces are considered at a time. Going into Playback mode, the camera then zooms in to faces automatically, trimming off what it considers to be extraneous edges. The Z5fd is a 6.3MP camera with 3x optical zoom and a 2.5-inch LCD. Aside from Face Detection, the camera also offers movie capture, ISO 1600 sensitivity, and IR data transfer to devices like phones and printers. It uses xD cards for storage. The camera is presently confirmed to ship in Japan and the United Kingdom.
A further product announcement relating to today's GeForce 8800 launch was made today by board manufacturer BFG Tech. In contrast to the dual-slot, fan-cooled reference design, the GeForce 8800 GTX Water Cooled Edition uses a hand-fitted, custom liquid cooling system produced by Danger Den to dramatically reduce the heat output of the chipset. The improved efficiency is such that the card is halved in size, freeing a nearby PCI Express slot for peripherals, BFG says. A large fan central to the reference board has also been eliminated, quieting the card during gaming and other situations that can stress the chipset. BFG sells the Water Cooled Edition of its new card for $799. A normal, dual-slot equivalent is also available for $599.
On top of their GeForce 8800 announcement, NVIDIA has revealed CUDA, a new architecture that underlies the product. By delegating tasks more evenly across hundreds of small-scale processors, such as the shader units of the new GeForce card, programs may run up to 100 times faster than when running solely on a system's main CPUs, according to the company's claims. CUDA requires both development support due to its NVIDIA-specific nature as well as an intermediary driver that communicates with DirectX and OpenGL. However, the company adds that it will release a C-compiler to smooth adoption. While the introduction of CUDA is accompanied only by the GeForce 8800 at present, it will also be used in future versions of the workstation-oriented Quadro card as a way of speeding the calculations of 3D animators, scientists, and other professionals.
VoIP pioneer Skype unveiled a public test version of Skype 3 that the company heralds as a major improvement for group conversations. A new feature named Skypecast promises to simplify the conference calls that are frequently essential for business and podcasting by offering large-scale, moderated calls of up to 100 users each. Moderators can now eject, mute, or otherwise streamline calls. A similar feature, titled Public Chats, provides an equivalent for IRC-style text conversations. Skype also says that the version 3 beta adds a crucial web integration feature: websites can now embed Skype directly into their pages, including links that place calls to real-world phone numbers. The Skype 3 test is currently available for Windows only, but should continue to integrate with Skype devices such as the USB Skype Phone from Think Geek.
LG today revealed its new KB1800 phone, a model tailor-made for viewing the mobile TV broadcasts that are increasingly popular in the company's native Korea as well as abroad. In contrast to most such phones, the KB1800 will have a PC output, allowing an attached computer to play and even record live shows. LG says it has also made viewability a top priority with the new model and has incorporated a new screen that can be easily seen in real-world conditions, whether in broad daylight or at a sharp angle. The handset also has a fully adjustable external antenna that can pivot to improve reception regardless of the exact viewing position. A Mobile XD graphics engine is also said to improve the quality of the final image. LG hopes to ship the KB1800 soon under its Cyon label in Korea.
Gateway on Wednesday said it would replace its existing NX560 with a newer model that updates the ergonomics as well as performance. The NX570 series makes strategic use of different case materials to reduce weight without compromising strength, using lighter aluminum for the palm rest area and metal edges while using composites for the more vulnerable outer shell. Gateway's basic NX570X model will start with a basic 1.6GHz Core Duo, 80GB of storage, and Intel graphics; a fully-equipped XL variant is also available with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, a 120GB hard disk, and Mobility Radeon X1400 video. Prices begin at $900 for the entry-level model and the systems will see an official release within the next few days.
Panasonic's HDC-SD1 is the first camcorder to record to SD cards in the AVCHD format. Based on H.264, the format was developed by Panasonic and Sony, and promises HD in smaller file sizes than those found on HDV and MiniDV cameras. Because the camera uses flash memory instead of discs, the SD1 also eliminates seek times associated with fast-forwarding and rewinding. A 3CCD sensor can record images up to 1080i in resolution, and a set of five microphones can record 5.1 surround sound, adjusting their pickup as the user zooms in and out. The Leica Dicomar lens has 12x optical zoom and a maximum aperture range of f/1.8 to 2.8. The camera will go on sale December 1st in Japan for the price of 180,000 yen ($1,530). A 4GB SD card will come standard.
Microsoft is widely expected to announce tomorrow that Windows Vista has been released to manufacturing, according to multiple online sources. The company has officially scheduled a conference call with Microsoft executive Jim Allchin for 11AM Pacific which the company has linked directly to the future operating system. The move is timed to closely precede the official November 23rd availability of Vista for businesses and other large-volume customers. Vista has been plagued both by a mid-development rewrite and frequent delays, its most recent being a last-minute delay to correct key remaining flaws. Widescale availability for the general public is expected at the end of January.
Although Samsung's most recent efforts emphasize premium designs such as the 10-megapixel B600, the company is preparing to bring its aesthetic to less expensive handsets, according to Slashphone. The upcoming X520 will bring the thin and narrow profiles of high-end models to a more affordable level. While specifications are anticipated as modest with an 0.3-megapixel camera, FM radio, and MP3 ringtone support as the phone's primary features, its signature two-tone design is widely expected to challenge the normally conservative design of other budget phones. Samsung is gearing the X520's as yet unspecified pricing towards prepaid cellular carriers such as Virgin Mobile and will release the phone before Christmas this year. Complete photos can be found after the jump.
The Ramos V100 is a Chinese media player that can handle a multitude of formats. It can play FLAC, Ogg, MP3, WAV and WMA audio files, and in terms of video, it can play RM/RMVB and MPEG-4 (DivX/XviD). SRT subtitles are supported. Where the player becomes more unusual is in its ability to play Flash games and animations, or run NES and SNES games through emulation. It can also perform voice and FM radio recording. There are two headphone jacks, for which the company has supplied a pair of Sennheiser MX500 earbuds. An SD slot provides up to 2GB of extra memory on top of built-in storage. The V100 comes in 512MB and 1GB models, which sell for 700 and 800 yuan ($89 and $102) respectively.
Panasonic took part in a CES press preview event today which marked the introduction of the company's first full HD projector. Owners of the new PT-AE1000U can display video at 1080p, matching the native resolution of Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies. The image quality itself is also improved, Panasonic says. A specially-tuned, aspherical lens system is claimed to provide 1,110 lumens of brightness as well as improved contrast. In combination with vertically aligned LCD pixels and improved iris control, the AE1000U can achieve a high 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Color accuracy is also a distinguishing trait of the new projector. A 14-bit color gamma correction system helps ensure accuracy automatically, but enthusiasts can now view the waveform for an incoming signal and adjust individual colors in response -- a feature previously left to professional calibration tools, Panasonic says. Two HDMI ports allow the device to connect to two different HD sources and an RS-232C connector can merge the AE1000U with home and theater automation systems. Panasonic plans to release the projector later this month for $5,999.
Samsung is showing off a 1GB SIM card at the Cartes 2006 expo, which finishes tomorrow in Paris. SIM cards are used to identify users on GSM phone networks; in most cases, however, the cards aren't large enough to hold more than identification and a small amount of content. Samsung's card (not pictured) should be able to hold a substantial amount of content, including music, photos, videos, and multimedia messages. Samsung is additionally advertising the card as having better encryption, as well as faster transfer rates through MMC and USB interfaces. The company has yet to say when the first 1GB SIMs will make it into mobile devices.
As part of the unveiling of its new online store, Thanko today highlighted its recent Wireless Space Mouse and announced a Lite version designed for portables. Both mice connect to an RF base station and support a unique dual-mode feature: when lifted off a desk and inverted, the Space Mouse automatically converts to a wireless remote for presentations, adjusting the controls so that the owner can steer the mouse by passing a finger over the sensor. A single button on the underside also lets users left-click without flipping the mouse over again, Thanko says. The company says its updated Lite version now has a more compact charging cradle and has a USB port to plug the mouse in for use while its battery is restored. The regular Space Mouse ships for $33; no pricing or availability has been set for the Space Mouse Lite.
Oregon Scientific has just revealed the latest version of its unique helmet camera. The ATC2K is intended for capturing video in high-intensity sports and is deliberately toughened against hostile conditions: the mountable camera can stay immersed in up to 10 feet of water for its entire battery life and will even survive the shocks of a cyclist's or snowboarder's fall, Oregon says. Video is recorded in DV format to either 32MB of built-in flash storage or an SD card, preventing the video from skipping in rough movement. The resulting footage can either be relayed directly to a TV through a bundled RCA cable as well as transferred to a Mac or PC through USB. Oregon now sells the ATC2K for $130 (helmet not included).
Sharp has announced the creation of a new 12MP CCD sensor, designed to fit inside compact digital cameras. By contrast, today's most powerful compacts (such as Canon's PowerShot G7) are limited to 10MP. Many digital SLR cameras have less than 10MP. Measuring a mere 1/1.7-inches, Sharp's sensor shrinks each photosite down to 1.88 microns. This has caused worry at websites such as Digital Photography Review, which notes that the push for more megapixels may actually decrease sensitivity, increase noise, and put too much demand on the lower-grade lenses used in compacts. Sharp should start mass-producing the sensor in January. No specific camera models have been announced, either by Sharp or third parties.
Sanyo today announced the launch of its newest GPS unit, the Easy Street Portable GPS. The new navigation system adds features not often seen in its class, including a built-in Bluetooth receiver for using the device as a speakerphone while driving. Also unlike many other competitors, the Easy Street can store as many as 500 phone contacts in its own memory; this lets owners dial most contacts without ever having to retrieve the phone itself, according to Sanyo. The GPS unit is capable of MP3, WAV, and WMA song playback and is also portable, lasting up to 3.5 hours on its lithium-ion battery. A bundled 1GB SD card is preloaded with complete map data for the continental US (a DVD backup with Canadian information is also included). Sanyo says the Easy Street is available today for $400. Click through for a detailed photo.
Although an official announcement is still pending, NVIDIA will today officially launch its next-generation video chipset, the GeForce 8800 series. The new architecture is the first to truly support the unified shader model of Microsoft's DirectX 10 software and an upcoming version of OpenGL, preventing the separation of pixel and vertex shaders that ultimately limited performance in earlier video cards. Performance is better than previously expected, according to DailyTech. The top-end GeForce 8800 GTX will feature 128 shader units supported by a 575MHz core processor, as anticipated, but will see its unprecedented 768MB of video memory clocked to a effective 1.8GHz, up significantly from the original 1.5GHz. A more mainstream part, the GeForce 8800 GTS, is also being released and will reduce costs by trimming the available shader units to 96, lowering the total memory to 640MB at a 1.6GHz effective clock speed, and introducing a 500MHz core. Features and shipping details are available after the jump.
Dell on Wednesday introduced the very first professional workstations to use quad-core Intel processors, according to the company. Its updated Precision line adds the choice of a single-socket, quad-core Core 2 Extreme at 2.66GHz for the Precision 390 model or as many as two of Intel's new Xeon 5300-series quad-core processors, providing as many as eight cores in a single system. A fully-configured, eight-core Precision 690 can improve performance as much as 54% over a similar four-core model, Dell claims. The new 490 and 690 models further ship with double the number of available memory channels, allowing for as much as 32GB of RAM to be installed in the 490 and 64GB in the flagship 690. The 690 further adds an SLI option for dual NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics cards. Prices for systems equipped with quad-core processors start at $2,223 for the Precision 390; all models ship today.
Apple today upgraded its MacBook line of consumer laptops to add Intel's newer Core 2 Duo mobile processor. The new computing architecture promises as much as a 25% increase in performance over the previous models, according to Apple VP Philip Schiller. The new lineup consists of two white models sporting 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo chips respectively, as well as a single, 2.0GHz black model. All 2.0GHz models now feature 1GB of memory, 80 or 120GB of hard disk storage (upgradeable to 200GB), and 6X, dual-layer Superdrives for recording DVDs. The new models begin at $1,099 and are available immediately from the online Apple Store.
Sirius hopes to replace its entry-level Sirius One receiver soon, according to a report by Orbitcast. The new iNV SV2-TK1 model would exchange the small, overhead design of the One for a dash-mountable receiver similar to Sirius' current lineup that provides greater information and control. A larger, three-line LCD will provide simultaneous channel, artist, and song information. Similarly, the extra physical space will allow for quicker access to commands, parental controls, and a Jump button for quick access to a favorite channel. Unlike newer full-size receivers, however, owners will need to plug in more conventional wires instead of using the more recent, universal Sirius plug-and-play connector. The new model is expected to go on sale in the near future for $60. Click through for a full photo.
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