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Japanese manufacturers Buffalo have announced the AirStation NFINITI, a WiFi adapter based on the draft 802.11n standard. The adapter connects to a computer through a 6.5-foot USB 1.1/2.0 cable and has an extremely compact form factor, allowing the antennas to be turned in many different directions. The transmitter can reach speeds of up to 70Mbps with an 11n connection, but also supports lesser speeds with 802.11b/g. Configuration can be managed with a single button press. The product goes on sale in Japan in late December for the price of 11,500 yen ($97).
British retailer Advanced MP3 Players is now carrying the Cozy Tunes Speaker Pillow. The uncommon audio system accepts sound from any 3.5mm minijack source such as an iPod or CD player and plays it through hidden speakers. The company notes that the hardware is covered by a soft polyester layer that remains comfortable enough to sleep on without threatening component damage. Similar to headphones, the Cozy Tunes pillow requires no additional power beyond its music source and has its own adjustable volume control. It ships in black, green, pink, or purple from the reseller's online store for £15 ($29) after tax.
Amazon today confirmed that it will be selling the Xbox 360 Core System for $100 during the American Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. After launching the company's first ever user-determined sale promotion, where customers were able to vote for their preferred sale item, the company declared that the Microsoft game console had won by a clear majority. The Core edition of the Xbox 360 normally retails for $299 and removes the 20GB hard drive of the Premium edition, which is needed for the console's recently unveiled video download store. The price differential is still expected to drive a sharp increase in the sales of the now year-old console, however, as adding the drive and other missing accessories will not approach the $399 cost of the Premium version, whose price remains unchanged at the online retailer.
Memory specialist Kingston is shipping the DataTraveler Secure Privacy Edition, a series of high-security flash drives. Each uses 256-bit AES encryption built into the hardware, making anything stored on the drive virtually impossible to retrieve without a password. Access is further controlled by strict password rules and a lockdown after 10 failed entries. To protect against environmental damage, the drives are waterproof to a depth of four feet, and the shells are stainless steel coated in titanium. USB 2.0 ports allow the drives to read at 24MB/sec and write at 10MB/sec. Windows XP or 2000 SP3 is required. Four different models on sale, beginning at 512MB ($53) and escalating to 4GB ($218).
ViewSonic today started shipping three new widescreen computer displays that it says are built for both performance and space-sensitive users. The 22-inch VX2235wm, 20-inch VX2035wm, and 19-inch VX1935wm all come with a new housing that significantly reduces the bezel size, simplifying multi-display setups. The three new monitors also produce much less clutter by shipping with chin-mounted stereo speakers and an internal power supply, according to ViewSonic. Each has a 5ms response time touted as superior for games and movies. The displays are similarly bright, as the 19- and 22-inch models offer a 700:1 contrast ratio while the mid-range 20-inch LCD offers a higher 800:1 figure. ViewSonic ships the displays today for $199 (VX1935wm), $349 (VX2035wm), and $399 (VX2235wm).
Sigma says it offers a uniquely flexible computer controller with its recently introduced SGM2 presentation mouse. The trigger-like pointer is meant to be held in the hand for slideshows and other visual presentations, giving speakers the opportunity to retain full control over the mouse courtesy of a trackball. The SGM2 is instantly usable as a desktop mouse, however; Sigma adds that three points on the bottom of the controller allow it to rest on a solid surface for more conventional use. It connects to a Mac or Windows PC through USB and can toggle between 400 and 800 DPI to prevent mistakes during keynotes. Sigma is already shipping the SGM2 in Japan with open pricing.
I-O Data this morning updated its Rec-Pot HD DVR to a full 800GB. Previously limited to a much smaller 500GB, the low-profile system uses two 400GB hard drives to record as much as 66 hours of video in Japan's 1125i HDTV format and a greater-still 200 hours in standard definition. A rear USB port can add even more hard disk storage if necessary. Four-pin FireWire is also included to connect the recorder directly to a receiver as well as more recent TVs. The recorder also preserves this video in MPEG-2 format and thus eliminates many of the compression artifacts that might result from other standards. This highest-capacity model will arrive in early December for a dealer-specified price.
Electronics manufacturer BenQ said that it would help space-sensitive home theaters by releasing three new LCD televisions with built-in surround. The newly announced VH3243, VH3743, and VH4243 sets all use SRS TruSurround XT to generate a virtual surround effect from their chin-mounted speakers, regardless of the number of channels in the original source. This gives apartment dwellers and other space-limited viewers the opportunity to enjoy surround sound without the bulk and cost of a true multi-speaker setup, BenQ claims. Each set also uses BenQ's own AMVA display panel design to improve color at steep angles and a 1,200:1 contrast ratio. Specifics regarding inputs and resolution weren't provided by the company. The new screens will first launch in Taiwan by mid-December for an unspecified price.
HANNSpree has introduced a new group of sports-themed LCDs. The 15-inch HANNSgolf features a dimpled white-and-green design, with a tee and two club irons providing support. The HANNSdribbling is a 9.6-inch soccer-themed screen, encased in a dome of real soccerball leather. The HANNSball.champions, meanwhile, is another 15-inch display, but is ready for wall-mounting, uses basketball leather, and has an embossed list of NBA Finals champions. The golf and ball.champions sets support resolutions up to 1024x768, while the dribbling is limited to 800x600. All three TVs are 4:3 displays with response times of 16ms. The golf is priced at £389 ($738), the dribbling at £299 ($568), and the ball.champions at £459 ($871).
Electronics maker Canyon today revealed the VoIP Station. While resembling Apple's AirPort Extreme base station, the Canyon model is built specifically to negotiate Internet-based calls and uses the same foundations as larger, more elaborate systems intended for offices, the company says. The station plugs into a computer through USB and operates as an omni-directional speakerphone to help families hold conference calls. Private conversations can also be had by connecting a microphone headset. The software is compatible with Skype and also supports instant message clients such as MSN, Canyon says. The VoIP Station currently sells for £40 ($76).
Buffalo on Wednesday introduced its WSKP-G Skype phone. Unlike some VoIP handsets, Buffalo says, the new phone can operate without requiring a host computer running Skype software; it can place calls through almost any 802.11b/g wireless hotspot. Those concerned with security can also synchronize the device with Buffalo's one-button AOSS security or manually configure it for WEP, WPA, and WPA2. The company further promises an average of 2.5 hours of continuous talk time that can be recharged directly through an AC adapter or a computer's USB port. Buffalo hopes to ship its Skype phone by mid-December for $207 in Japan; the company has not yet discussed a North american release.
The VOYAGER cocktail table is a deliberate throwback to gaming tables from the 1970s and 80s. Buried in the table is an arcade machine holding 42 games, such as 1942, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Galaga, Frogger, Pac-Man and more. Arcade-style buttons and joysticks are located on either side of the table for one or two players. A protective perspex screen guards the table (and 14-inch monitor) from damage by drinks or falling objects. The VOYAGER is available with or without coin slots, but the cost of play can be set to any amount including free. The table can also be customized with oak, black, or mahogany finishes (mahogany is pictured). Gremlin Solutions is selling the slotless version for £1,426 ($2,706) and the slotted one for £1,526 ($2,896), while Liberty Games is only selling a single version for £1,675 ($3,179).
Developed by EMI, the 911 rCard stores critical medical information such as charts, prescriptions, or even photos and video in a device just slightly larger than a business card. Medical professionals can then browse the data on an embedded 2-inch screen. To load information, users create a secure profile at the EMI website, and then transfer files to the card via USB. The product holds up to 1GB of content and (when not in use) has a seven-year battery life. Power lasts up to two hours in active use. If the battery runs dry, it can be recharged through the USB cable, and a toll-free number is provided to get information by phone. The card costs $80 by itself and a $20 subscription fee is due from the second year onwards.
Designer Slava Tyukalov says he has begun limited production of his Handmade Wireless Optical Mouse. In contrast to the plastic shells often dictated by mass production, each mouse is assembled in part from materials used by NASA and other space agencies, according to Tyukalov. Each mouse is also constructed of luxury materials that would be equally impractical in factory assembly: the signature GoldenEye model features snakeskin, while the Cold Steel (pictured) and Black Pearl are both covered by chrome and leather. Although none of the mice have received standardized pricing, the designer currently provides individual price quotes as necessary.
Microsoft today announced that its movie and TV show service for Xbox 360 owners is now active. The release confirms the previously unmentioned pricing system for the online store, which had been announced without these details two weeks ago. Under the points-based Xbox Live Marketplace system, standard-definition TV shows can be bought for the equivalent of $2 -- similar to Apple's iTunes Store -- while full-length movies can be rented for $3 at the same resolution. Notably, Microsoft says it will charge a premium for high-definition content, with TV programs available for $3 and HD-quality films rentable for $6 each. The launch is accompanied by 50 TV shows and 48 movies; both numbers are expected to grow significantly in coming weeks.
O2 may be positioning its forthcoming XDA Flame phone as a media player, according to a post at Pocket PC Thoughts. Using a photo and a flyer as evidence, they suggest that the Flame will have 2GB of ROM, a 520MHz Intel CPU, and most notably, an Nvidia GoForce 5500 chipset. The 5500 supports surround sound, native decoding of video codecs such as H.264, WMV9 and MPEG-4, and 3D gaming on the level of Quake III Arena. The phone should also have a 2-megapixel camera and a 3.6-inch VGA display. To connect to other devices (and possibly the Internet), USB and 802.11b/g wireless ports will be available. The Flame should debut sometime in 2007 -- click through for images of the unit.
Best Buy is planning to offer its own heavily discounted laptop for this week's Black Friday sales, according to Notebooks.com. The retail chain plans to offer Toshiba's L35-S2151 for $249 as an in-store promotion, providing a major discount over the normally $600 system. The 15.4-inch system is designed for basic needs with a 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB of memory, and a 60GB hard drive. Best Buy adds that the PC is relatively light for its size and price, weighing a modest 5.1 pounds and measuring 1.5 inches thick. The move follows earlier plans by Circuit City, HP, and Wal-Mart to provide massive short-term discounts as a way of spurring holiday sales.
US cellular network Verizon today said it would carry the Kyocera K323 cellphone. Though the phone is meant for cost-conscious subscribers, it includes features not always present on other devices in its class. The K323 sports both Bluetooth and a VGA camera, allowing it to sync wirelessly with a host PC and to take still photos. Built-in software allows for quickly editing photo color and adding frames. Battery life is rated at a sizeable 3.5 hours of active talk time and 7.5 hours of standby, according to Kyocera. Importantly, pricing is low as the phone is now shipping for $30 alongside any Verizon contract.
Designing for business travelers and other frequent drivers, Motorola has now unveiled its M710 phone for iDEN networks. The phone is made to use the instant, multi-way communication services of carriers such as Nextel by including quick access to push-to-talk as well as the optional use of a wide array of GPS features, according to Motorola: users can track not only their position but also roadside help, traffic, and weather. In business, the M710 can further serve as a beacon that lets employers keep track of cars. Motorola's handset can also function as a data modem and is physically designed for the realities of driving, with oversized buttons and text that reduce the amount of time spent looking away from the road. The company hasn't yet revealed availability or pricing but plans to sell the M710 to both personal buyers and companies alike.
Palm today announced that it has begun shipping its Treo 680 to both cellular providers and users. First to receive the smartphone will be Cingular, Palm says, which will receive the new device November 24th beginning at prices of $200 with a two-year contract. The Cingular-specific version will ship with Telenav GPS Navigator software for driving directions as well as a 30-day trial of Yahoo! Unlimited Music To Go that takes advantage of the Treo 680's music support. The handset will also support the carrier's EDGE broadband network.
Palm also said today that it will begin accepting preorders for an unlocked version of the entry-level Treo immediately with an expected ship date of December 1st for both in-store and online customers. The unlocked version will require cellphone service with a GSM-based provider and accompanying SIM card and is expected to retail for $399.
Sony this morning has sought to entice holiday buyers by releasing limited Graphic Splash Editions of two of its key VAIO laptop lines. Both the 13.3-inch, mid-range C-series and the 17-inch AR-series desktop replacement will be produced in small quantities with an artistic outer shell. No more than 2,150 of the C-series (pictured) will be produced with the choice of Green/Red Storm, Angel, Blue Streaks, or Pink Swirl styles. Only 500 of the flagship AR series will in turn be produced, with the choice of either Green Streaks or Orbit for color schemes. Both systems are available today and command a premium over base models: the VAIO C is priced at $1,150 with its custom shell, while the AR in Graphic Splash Edition trim is priced at $2,270.
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