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Having killed more civilians than fighters in the recent war with Lebanon, Israel is turning to smaller weapons, Reuters reports. "It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist," says Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. "So we are building futuristic weapons." Among these is robot dubbed the "bionic hornet," which (if completed) will be no bigger than its namesake, yet have the capacity to hunt, photograph and kill individual opponents. The scale of the robot will require nanotechnology to develop its parts. Other projects underway include strength-boosting gloves, and sensors designed to warn of suicide bombers. Peres says he hopes the first prototypes for these devices will be out within the next three years.
Final Sound is releasing a new range of electrostatic speakers and subwoofers, which the company says can cut voltage by 75 percent over conventional formats. The down-firing S110 subwoofer produces 100W with an eight-inch throw, and spans frequencies from 25 to 220Hz; the front-firing S220 has 220W of power with a 12-inch throw, and hits frequencies between 20-200Hz. The 220 also has its own digital amplifier. Since subwoofers are meaningless without speakers, Final is also releasing the 300i speaker panels (pictured), which are 48 inches tall but only one inch deep. Their size means they be mounted on a wall as well as stood on the floor. No wattage has been suggested, but they can cover frequencies of 95Hz to 22KHz.
All three products should be out in the US by January. In the United Kingdom, the S110 costs £338 ($639), while the S220 is £677 ($1,280). A pair of 300is costs £1,219 ($2,304).
Panasonic recently unveiled its P702iD mood-sensing phone at the CEATEC 2006 expo in Japan. Key to its design is an LED on the outer shell that can change its brightness and color between any of ten settings. While largely for cosmetic purposes, the LED can be tied to a dynamic Feel*Talk mode. The phone can analyze the phone owner's voice in real-time and will automatically shift the color of the phone depending on the perceived mood: a cheerful tone will produce different results than a bored or saddened tone, Panasonic says. Media capture is an equally major component of the design, as it contains both a 1.3-megapixel outer camera and a VGA camera for video chat. A miniSD card slot stores music and photos, and support for Japan's FOMA mobile broadband is built-in. NTT DoCoMo carries the phone today with open pricing. A photo of the phone's interior is available after the jump.
Cingular is taking the BlackBerry Pearl into its fold as of November 21st, says The Boy Genius Report. The release had been scheduled for November 28th. The Cingular phone (renamed the Cingular 8100) should retain all of the abilities of the T-Mobile version, but will now have a Push-to-Talk feature. The base phone has features such Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and the signature trackball, which Research in Motion promotes as superior for navigating e-mail versus the previous scroll wheel. Video and MP3 files can be stored on microSD cards. No pricing information has been released, though it should compare closely to the $200 contract price associated with T-Mobile.
Rimax has just unveiled the B-Twin, a digital audio player the company considers equally useful for public sharing as well as for private listening. The B-Twin sports two headphone jacks, allowing sharing without a splitter or wireless adapter; to help with this, Rimax also bundles a second pair of earbuds. An external speaker gives the further choice of broadcasting music to a nearby audience. With either 1GB or 2GB of flash memory, the latest Rimax player supports a full set of media functions and plays most MPEG and Windows Media audio files as well as MPEG-4 video and GIF/JPEG photos. FM Radio and voice recording bolster its abilities. The player can be imported today from British store RMXdirect beginning at $132 for a 1GB model.
The V-Gear Mobi Lens MW expands the options available to cameraphone owners. It can also be used with standalone cameras that are missing filter threads. The package contains a pair of lens attachments: one for wide-angle shots, and the other for macro views (i.e. extreme close-ups). The lenses can be combined for a panoramic effect. Each one has an aluminum frame, and attaches to a phone or camera through stick-on magnetic rings. Caps protect the glass and a strap makes the lenses easier to carry. The Mobi Lens kit is now on sale in Japan for the price of 1,400 yen ($12) including local taxes.
Intempo has released the iFi-01 luxury iPod stereo system. Known in the US as the mStation Stereo Tower, the iFi-01 is built as a nod to classic stereo systems with modern design. The freestanding system is constructed vertically to save space but is made of lightweight aluminum to fit into more contemporary home theaters. The speakers also help create a virtual surround sound effect, Intempo says: both 15-watt satellites rotate to add further direction to the sound. A 30-watt subwoofer at the center is said to add appreciable bass response. The system is compatible with all dockable iPods and can also attach to other audio devices. Already shipping, the Stereo Tower is available in the UK for $425 and from mStation in the US for $300.
A very distinct media player comes in the form of the B10 Bible Master, produced by Korean company Xell. The B10 comes pre-loaded with a New International Version of the Bible, which owners can browse, bookmark, and search by verse or keyword on the player's monochrome LCD screen. Those wanting to escape to secular pursuits can take advantage of an FM tuner, a general e-book reader, or MP3 playback. It can also record brief voice snippets. Files are transferred off and on through an SD slot. The player is something of an oddity in its home country, as 46.5 percent of the population has no religious preference to speak of. The B10 Bible Master can be had from the Xell website for an unspecified price.
Movidity has announced movy.tv, a website meant to be the mobile equivalent of YouTube. Users will be able to upload videos and music to the website, and in turn, supported PDAs and cellphones will get to view the content through a custom media player. There will be public and paid areas of the site, but the site in general should feature tags, referrals, private user groups, and the ability to impose advertising. Users will also have the option of e-mail/SMS notifications. Future additions to the site should include uploads and archive searches directly from a handheld, as well as live streaming content from TV, radio, or other sources. Movy.tv will open to business clients on December 15th and the public a month later. Devices currently pegged for support include BlackBerries (8700/Pearl), Palm PDAs (OS 5.0+), and PDAs running Windows Mobile 3.0 or greater.
Japanese cellphone carrier and supplier NTT DoCoMo says it has developed a uniquely solar-powered cellphone prototype. Using a combination of thin photovoltaic cells on the outer shell and an energy-efficient chipset, the as-yet unnamed phone can run entirely on solar power, escaping the need for batteries altogether. If put into production, the phone would still retain most of the features of a contemporary handset such as Internet access and messaging, according to NTT DoCoMo. The current form also encourages callers to save battery life during idle periods by including a conspicuous power button. While no plans have been announced to ship the phone as-is, the prototype is functionally complete and likely points to future handsets that rely partly or completely on solar energy. Larger photos follow after the jump courtesy of T3.
A new, ultra-high-end model is set to occupy the summit of Nokia's cellphone lineup, according to Hungarian news site Terminal. The N97 is said to outclass its predecessors in the N-series by including a 20GB hard disk in its cellphone-sized frame, providing ample room for documents, music, and videos. Nokia will also perpetuate its emphasis on imaging by incorporating a 5-megapixel camera with 2.4X optical zoom for recording and a smaller, front-facing camera for video messages. A tall, 3-inch LCD at the heart of the N97 is likely to be the largest in its class. Dedicated media buttons and an FM radio complete the smartphone's known features. A release date and other launch information is unavailable; the phone is projected to reflect its high-end features in its price when it ships in the near future. Click through for a full-sized photo.
G-Tech's Wireless Fabric Keyboard is meant to connect with PDAs and smartphones from the likes of Nokia, Palm, and BlackBerry. It's a full twelve inches long, and uses ElekTex Smart Fabric to register button pushes. Because there are no mechanical parts inside the product, the keyboard lays down completely flat, and it wraps up tight to fit within a carrying pouch. The one solid portion of the keyboard contains a Bluetooth transmitter and a port for two AAA batteries. In spite of the electronics, G-Tech says that the product is waterproof, and thus can be put into a washing machine. It should be available soon for $130, online and at 30 individual CompUSA stores.
Hammacher Schlemmer is today carrying the hybrid MP3 Player/Pedometer/Radio for frequent exercisers. Similar to Sony's recently launched S2 Sports Walkman, the Hammacher player stores an internal pedometer that tracks distance as well as time, allowing joggers to set benchmarks for each session. As a music player, the jukebox supports either 1GB of MP3 songs or FM radio tuning and can last for as long as 10 hours of steady playback. This is in part due to an energy-efficient 128x64 OLED display, Hammacher says. An additional voice recording ability provides as much as 12 hours of stored audio. The MP3 Player/Pedometer/Radio ships immediately for $100.
Recent Motorola acquisition Symbol is working on a slim, portable smartphone to complement its handheld computers, according to Reg Hardware. The MC35 (pictured) will abandon the navigation pad and thick casing of the existing MC50 for a "durable, lightweight" design, the company says. It should more closely resemble multi-purpose phones such as the BlackBerry 8700 and is expected to focus on offering as many connection methods as possible, ranging from built-in GPS tracking and Bluetooth to push-to-talk for instant conversations. Symbol also mentions it will release versions of the new phone with and without WiFi, allowing for both standard Internet access and VoIP calling. Little else has been revealed by Symbol, which may ultimately ship the MC35 as a Motorola device. The new device should launch in February without built-in WiFi and will be followed by a fully-enabled wireless version the following month. Pricing has not been revealed.
Japanese firm byd:sign this morning launched two personal TV sets with built-in DVD players. The leading d:1966GJ is intended primarily for movie viewers and centers around a 19-inch, 1440x900 screen with an 8ms response time; the smaller, 15-inch d:1566GJ is intended for more casual viewers and uses a standard-ratio, 1024x768 display with a more modest 16ms response time. Either model can take advantage of its DVD player to play music CDs and JPEG photo CDs as well as movies. The 15-inch and 19-inch sets launch today in Japan for $337 and $506 US respectively, but are likely to ship soon to Sam's Club stores in the US under the EyeFi brand, likely exchanging the Japan-only D4 digital video input for component or HDMI ports.
Cellphone partnership Sony-Ericsson is designing an ultra-slim cellphone in response to the RAZR, according to a source speaking to Reuters. To be released in March 2007, the phone -- currently known as "Ai," a tribute to Japanese tennis player Ai Sugiyama -- is described as a recognition by the company that slim handsets have propelled first Motorola and now Samsung to success. Few details of the phone have been revealed, Reuters says, but the source divulged that the Ai will be clothed in black and silver, and should achieve a thickness of only 9.4mm (0.37 inches), noticeably smaller than the RAZR's 14mm (0.55 inches) but thicker than Samsung's recently unveiled V9900. Sony-Ericsson has historically preferred thicker but sometimes more advanced designs such as the K790 and its Walkman series of phones.
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