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SoundArt's Canvas Art Speakers meld audio with decoration. After customers supply photographs or other images, SoundArt will print them on an appropriately-sized canvas (or two) that contains the company's SA-02 speakers. A subwoofer is connected elsewhere in the room via a 25-foot speaker cable. Each SA-02 setup accepts a single stereo input from devices such as stereos, televisions, and MP3 players. The speakers are only available from select British retailers, and because the size of the product can vary, the price does as well.
SIM2 today targeted the most dedicated home theater enthusiasts by introducing its Domino D80 DLP projector. Capable of the full 1080p resolution provided by Blu-Ray and HD DVD, the D80 focuses on true image quality, according to SIM2. The projector uses an updated Texas Instruments DLP chipset alongside a 7-segment color wheel to create a genuine minimum contrast ratio of 4,000:1 as well as reduce the aliasing and blurring effects common to digital video. A 160-watt lamp further improves the final picture in brighter rooms. SIM2 offers its high-end Domino in black or white casings for $10,000.
In other Fujitsu news, the company has just announced two new tablet PCs, the Stylistic ST5111 and ST5112. Both are claimed to be the first slates to use Intel's latest Core Duo Mobile chipset, the U2500 (1.2GHz). The 5111 has a 10.4-inch XGA screen, while the 5112's is 12.1 inches. The tablets are also separated by their security features, since the 5112 has an integrated fingerprint sensor in addition to the 5111's smartcard, TPM chip, and custom security software. Each does however have Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g wireless, an anti-shock sensor, and a stylus with an eraser top. Notably, the slates have optional stands to hold them upright. The base 5111 is listed at $2,749 and (unusually) the 5112 at $2,649.
Following the recent introduction of its JAQ3 handheld, i-Mate today revealed its PDAL smartphone. Described as one of the smallest PDAs available by its creator, the PDAL saves space by eschewing a keypad in favor of a 2.4-inch touchscreen that can be used to place calls as well as interact with the phone's extensive data features. i-Mate's device is a true world phone and can connect to all four major GSM bands as well as EDGE broadband and WiFi hotspots. A message notification light similar to that of the BlackBerry also exists to help take advantage of the phone's support for real-time "push" e-mail. The company has not announced a formal launch or price, but may bring the phone to North America at a later date.
Epson today introduced its Endeavor ST100 PC, an ultra-desktop compact that competes directly with the Mac mini in terms of aesthetics and features. Though slightly heavier and larger than its Apple counterpart, the ST100 exchanges this size for added performance. The new Endeavor ships by default with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and can be equipped with as much as a 2.33GHz version of the processor, Epson notes. The system can also be customized for storage and can ship with as little as 40GB or as much as 160GB of hard disk storage. All models ship with DVD burners and include two front-mounted USB ports in addition to four at the rear. A 56K modem, Ethernet, and VGA display output are also built-in. Epson currently offers its ST100 in Japan at an equivalent of $508 for the base configuration.
Seeking to combat the growing complication of media phones, Fujitsu has just prototyped a unique, four-way slider phone concept. In place of the unidirectional sliders on current phones that often require significant effort to open, the Fujitsu model slides only briefly in all cardinal directions, revealing a different set of controls each time. The prototype as revealed to T3 Magazine provides controls for phone calls as well as a camera, gaming, and media playback. Compartmentalizing the controls not only simplifies their use but also saves space, Fujitsu says. The electronics maker adds that it fully intends to translate the lessons learned from the rough design into future phones and expects shipping products sometime next year. A gallery of photos provided by T3 is available after the jump.
Sony has updated the Playstation Portable's firmware to version 3.00, giving the handheld a number of new features. Foremost is the addition of support for games on the Playstation Network, the Sony online service which is primarily supporting the Playstation 3 (released November 17th). Which games will be playable through PSN is unknown, though it is known that PS1 games will be among the download options. "Remote Play" is an option in the PSP's Network menu. The firmware also enables support for the camera add-on, and provides a visual player (with three-speed reverse and fast-forward options) for music files. The update is available now by connecting a PSP to the Internet. Be warned that if you have any unofficial software on your unit, this software may invalidate it.
Apple is investigating what may be a revolutionary approach to cooling and powering small computers, according to a report by ITWeek's Green Business News. The computer company is currently in talks with the engineering firm Eneco to use the latter's recently announced Thermal Chip. Its technology is said to convert heat into electricity, bouncing the free electrons of hot metal against cold metal to capture the resulting energy. The chip can alternately be used to cool hardware dramatically by receiving direct electricity and produces as much as five times the energy density of a lithium-ion battery, Eneco claims.
While both companies have yet to settle on a contract and are not expected to ship products in the immediate future, the potential impact for Apple could be dramatic, ITWeek writes. The system builder, which has often struggled with thermal issues in its systems in the past, could effectively solve its cooling difficulties by absorbing most of the heat generated by processors and converting it into a source that would reduce or even eliminate the need for a high-capacity battery in laptops.
BMI Gaming's Home Pro Racing Simulator is meant to be paired with a PC, PS2, or Xbox 360, and has custom-configured controls depending on your hardware. For non-driving games, owners can supplement the steering wheel and pedals with their own joystick. The main focus of the cockpit though is its 5.1, 1,000W sound system, with three satellites in the front, two in the rear, and a 10-inch subwoofer underneath the Hunsaker racing seat. The system is so powerful that it can hit volumes up to 115 decibels. Added effect comes from three vibration modules. To actually view your game, a shelf supports LCD/plasma TVs up to 42 inches, or you can simply position the cockpit in front of an existing display. BMI normally sells the machine for $4,475 but Costco is offering it for $4,000 until November 30th.
Dell today said that it will end the use of rebates for its Dimension destkops, instead lowering the base price of systems or offering instant, unconditional discounts. The sometimes heavily criticized practice has caused confusion and often resulted in ultimately higher prices, according to Dell. The company notes that some of its discounts were overly dependent on rebates and subscription tie-ins, masking the true cost of the system to the buyer. In one circumstance, Dell says, a Dimension listed as $99 at one store required three separate rebates and a cellphone plan to qualify, making it virtually impossible for the customer to buy the system as it was advertised. Dell is also likely to have instigated the rebate-free plan as a reaction to multiple below-average quarterly profits within the past year, which the company has partially blamed on excessive discounting. The new discount approach takes effect immediately.
Upcoming website UberCoolHome said on Tuesday that it will produce a limited-run 80-inch holographic TV named the Uber-Graph. The rear-projection system was originally designed for elaborate window displays and accomplishes its unique hanging-portrait holographic effect by trapping light at specific angles, allowing only the light needed for the intended picture to reach the screen while ambient illumination continues uninterrupted. The large panel works with both 3D sources and conventional video, though the company does not specify the available inputs. UberCoolHome is currently auctioning its first production model for a starting bid of £5,500 ($10,433) and plans to offer 99 more at a price of £15,000 ($28,455) when full-scale deliveries begin in January.
Communications expert USRobotics today expanded its VoIP range into videos with the introduction of the Mini Cam for Skype. The camera has been certified by Skype for use with all of the latter's company's video-related features on a host computer, including live video chat, pre-recorded video messages, and still photos. The hardware is accordingly optmized, USRobotics says. The 1.3-megapixel sensor captures a full 30 frames per second and adapts its settings to better focus on indivduals' faces or in low-light situations. The slim-profile body is equally adaptable and is meant to clip or stand on any common surface, whether it be a laptop display or a desktop. USRobotics plans on shipping the Mini Cam with a microphone headset in January for a price of $40.
AeroGrow has recently released its signature AeroGarden aeroponic garden. A system designed for those without the skill, time, or weather to maintain an outdoors garden, the AeroGarden uses NASA-derived aeroponics to nourish most small plants without constant monitoring or even soil. The gardener must only add a supply of nutrients, seeds, and water every two weeks, AeroGrow says. After this, the system automatically releases food to the plants and adjusts lighting to simulate an outdoors sun cycle. The AeroGarden caters specifically to the likely needs of apartment dwellers and other small-scale gardeners, and has different settings for flowers, herbs, and smaller fruits or vegetables such as tomatoes. A beginning kit is available now from Amazon for $150, while themed seed packs ship separately for $20.
Sharper Image today introduced its iBeam Speaker System. Taking styling cues from the current-generation iMac, the entire unit floats on a single-piece, curved metal stand that both protects the speakers against spills and raises the speakers closer to the listener's ear level. The system also emphasizes audio quality from the speakers themselves. SRS WOW support can automatically enhance the resulting sound, Sharper Image claims; an optional Woofi subwoofer ($50) adds extra bass response for more demanding users. The iBeam is able to charge and play music from any dockable iPod, but also incorporates an AM/FM radio that supports as many as 12 preset stations. An auxiliary jack is built in for other audio sources. The company currently ships the stereo for $170.
In what it calls a breakthrough, Samsung today said that it has developed the world's thinnest LCD for cellphones and other handheld devices. The new panel measures only 0.82mm (0.03 inches) thick, achieving the same thickness as a credit card while still creating a 2.1 or 2.2-inch display for the viewer. This more than halves the thickness of typical 2-3mm LCDs and thus provides either more room for components or an even slimmerer phone design.
The implementation doesn't come at the cost of strength, according to Samsung. A new LCD assembly technology, named i-Lens, merges the entire panel and its protective layer into a single piece that improves the shock resistance of the display even in relation to thicker models. This has the additional benefit of reducing the amount of light reflection and improving viewability in direct sunlight. Phones and other electronics that will use the panel will be available in the second half of 2007.
The Chinese division of Lenovo today launched the Tianyi F50, the company's first portable to be certified by and support Dolby Labs' sound technology. All models are capable not only of producing Dolby Digital surround sound through a single optical cable but can also generate a 5.1-channel signal from stereo sources through Dolby Headphone and Pro Logic II support. Those limited to stereo-only speakers can still reap the benefit, according to Lenovo: Virtual Surround produces an enveloping audio effect from any two-channel speakers, including those built into the F50.
The performance of the systems themselves has also been updated, with the range-leading model sporting a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB of memory. Every model includes a 15.4-inch screen, GeForce Go 7400 graphics, and Lenovo's distinguishing Shuttle Center media controls. The Tianyi F50 is available today in China starting at a price of $1270 for a 1.73GHz Core Duo model with 512MB of RAM. The company has not yet announced intentions to bring the computer line to North America.
Software developer Turbolinux this morning revealed the open-source Wizpy media player. Using a distribution of the company's own Linux variant, the Wizpy is deliberately designed to be user-modifiable. Enthusiasts and programmers are encouraged to install their own software on the built-in 4GB of flash storage, even installing their own OS if they choose, according to Turbolinux. By default, the player ships with support for AAC, MP3, and OGG audio as well as DivX video and FM radio; the open nature of the player, however, also lets it connect directly to the Internet and read office documents. The company has committed to a February launch date, but says it has not determined a final price.
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