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German outfit Memorysolution has announced the Lavod LFA-262B, an extremely compact MP3/WMA audio player that has a microSD slot in addition to its onboard flash memory. The device is just 3.3 inches long and 0.4 inches thick, and supports card sizes up to 1GB. A two-color OLED display shows either lyrics or ID3 tags. The player also supports voice recording, and has two headphone jacks as well as a rechargable lithium polymer battery that allows over six hours of playback. A 1GB model of the Lavod is selling for €35 ($46) at retail, while a 2GB model is on offer for €45 ($59).
Bushnell this afternoon launched its first major efforts in the GPS receiver market by introducing three new units targeted at both drivers and frequent walkers. Leading the introductions is the NAV 500 (pictured), a full-function receiver with a 3.5-inch color touchscreen that displays both road directions and pedestrian routes. Maps of Canada and the US are preloaded while the device also adds music and photo playback. The NAV 500 is already shipping for a $599 official price.
Also revealed were the ONIX 200 and ONIX 200 CR, two more portable handhelds that introduce a rare layering feature, according to Bushnell. Either model can display satellite photography overlaid with map data, providing a real-world visual reference for buildings and other landmarks. These too share built-in North American maps but shed the extra media abilities of the range-topping NAV 500. The basic ONIX 200 is shipping this month for $200 and sports a 160x240 grayscale screen; the CR version adds a double-length 320x240 color screen for improved results and will ship in February. Pricing remains unknown.
Nike is adding a new product to the Nike+ iPod line, according to Men's Health. The Amp+ is a Bluetooth remote bracelet that not only lets users control playback without touching their iPod, it displays relevant information from a player (such as running statistics) in real-time. The data is projected through an LED readout tucked under the black matte surface of the bracelet. The Amp+ should be released sometime in 2007 for the price of $80. The Nike+ line features shoes designed to work with special hardware and software for the iPod Nano, keeping track of runs while providing audio feedback at the same time. The lack of a remote to keep sweat off Nanos has been a noticeable issue.
TEAC on Monday started shipping its Multifunction Portable Drive to the US. The drive merges a 40GB notebook-class hard drive with a multi-format card reader, allowing its owner to transfer photos or other files directly from CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and SD flash cards to a hard drive for temporary storage until returning to a Mac OS X or Windows PC to transfer information through USB 2. The reader can automatically copy files with a single button press, erase files from cards itself, and operate independently of any external power source courtesy of a lithium-ion battery, TEAC says. No price information has been given, but TEAC indicates that the drive will ship on December 1st. Larger-capacity 80GB and 120GB models have been announced for other regions and are anticipated for a later North American release.
The Iqua miniUFO is a hands-free Bluetooth set meant for cellphones and PDAs. Due to its light, disc-shaped design, the UFO can be easily attached to surfaces like dashboards or sun visors, and taken with when leaving a vehicle. Four buttons and voice dialing make the unit safer to operate while driving. Iqua also touts the set's usefulness with a PC, saying it can be used to make VoIP calls with (unspecified) compatible software packages. The battery can handle as much as 10 hours of talk time or up to 450 hours of standby. The company is presently selling the miniUFO for $89.
Sirius has announced that it will produce the SR100, a satellite radio adapter for sea navigation maker Raymarine's E-series boat mapping displays (pictured). Sirius has adapted the mapping service it normally provides for drivers to water-based travel, exchanging the former's road condition monitoring for naval weather updates. The SR100 provides boat pilots with real-time weather radar that also warns of storms and potentially deadly lightning hotspots; the unit also keeps track of more complex data like sea temperature and wave height to help smaller ships navigate, Raymarine says. Sirius plans to formally debut the SR100 at CES in January for $1,000 while the E-series is already available starting at $3,200.
Soundwave, a frequent producer of flash-based music players, has today debuted the MP3 Ball. Its spherical shape is attention-seeking in appearance but avoids the hard edges that can cause problems with most music players. However, the company notes, the MP3 Ball has also been given a soft-touch rubber finish that ensures a safe grip. The player stores up to 1GB of MP3 songs and has six EQ presets for customizing its sound. Support for text lyrics is equally built-in. Online retailer Grattan delivers the MP3 Ball for a price of £40 ($77).
Hardware developer XCM said today that it hopes to aid first-person shooter gamers with its XFPS 360 adapter. While it plugs into an available USB port on the Xbox 360 console, the adapter serves not only as a two-port USB hub for connecting additional controllers but also provides support for legacy devices. Users can plug in any PS2 keyboard or mouse to replicate the more responsive controls of many first-person games for computers; a port also exists to plug in PlayStation 1 and 2 wired gamepads, XCM adds. The adapter further mimics some third-party gamepads with switches to control the turbo function for specific buttons. No definitive launch information has been provided by the company, though XCM is expected to finalize the hardware shortly.
Designed by the Okude laboratory at Keio University, Tokyo, the Pileus is a concept umbrella that can transmit photos and video directly to Flickr and YouTube respectively. Images are captured by a digital camera, and sent to the websites via a WiFi transmitter in the handle. The umbrella also has a built-in projector, allowing users to visually browse their accounts by twisting the handle left or right. There is currently no indication that the Pileus will become a commercial product -- it has become increasingly miniaturized however, having gone from a wired, man-length design to the size and shape of an ordinary umbrella.
Nokia said today that it will produce a limited edition of its 8800 Sirocco phone for Lamborghini enthusiasts. Its conspicuous laser-etched engravings are visual reminders of the Italian supercar builder's influence, the companies say, but the device also benefits from subtle improvements in engineering. The ball bearings at the heart of the sliding mechanism are custom-made by Lamborghini for a better feel; a sapphire screen coating similar to that of the Vertu Constellation not only adds to its exoticism, but resists scratches as well. The Lamborghini phone is appropriately preloaded with related wallpapers, themes, and ringtones as well as a video documentary.
Technical features remain similar to those of the already premium existing version, according to Nokia. A 2-megapixel camera, EDGE broadband support, and 128MB of internal storage are said to complement the cars that will likely be paired with the handsets. Lamborghini is offering only 500 of the special phones at its dealerships worldwide, according to Sybarites. Pricing has not been revealed.
Shaped in a manner similar to the Nintendo Wii, Shuttle's XPC X100 is a PC with an ultra-compact form factor, measuring only two inches thick and 12 inches long. An optional stand holds the computer on its side. Up to 2GB of RAM and 750GB of hard drive space is supported, and video is supplied by an ATI Mobility Radeon X1400. For the processor, customers have the option of Intel Celeron M (1.6GHz), Core Duo (1.6-2.0GHz) or Core 2 Duo (2.0GHz) chipsets. Other built-in components include 7.1 SPDIF surround sound, an 8x DVD+RW drive, and a four-in-one (SD/MMC/Memory Stick/MS Pro) card reader. Shuttle is selling two base configurations of the X100 for $799 and $999.
Produced by the Novelty Gift Company, the Street Mouse TVR Tuscan is nevertheless officially licensed by TVR, mimicking the curves of the automaker's famous supercar. It has working headlights and taillights, with the former being lit by blue LEDs. In practical terms the mouse uses an 800dpi sensor, and has three buttons plus a center-mounted scrollwheel. It comes with USB and PS2 connectors and is both PC and Mac compatible, though PC users will need Windows 98 or later. The mouse is generally selling for about £15 ($29), but Gadgeter has the product for a pound less ($27).
The Chinese firm eREAD has today released the STAReBOOK. The digital reader is one of the world's thinnest eBook readers at only 8mm (0.3 inches) thick and is meant to achieve an iPod-like aesthetic in the normally pragmatic world of eBooks. As with Sony's already-shipping Portable Reader System, the eREAD device relies on electronic paper to display text using a minimum of power. Because the paper only consumes power when refreshing text, a single charge of the lithium-ion battery is useful for thousands of pages, the company says. Books and optional MP3 music files are stored on up to 1GB of internal flash memory that can be upgraded through an SD card slot. Pricing is unknown, though the company says that the STAReBOOK is now available internationally.
Califone today unveiled its My First Keyboard input device. The child-oriented keyboard is color-coded to develop better typing. With red marking both numbers and vowels, young typists can spend less time searching for keys as they write, the company says. The casing is built for durability over style and is made of ABS plastic that Califone claims is resistant to typical levels of abuse. A row of quick-access buttons at the top also contrast the keyboard with adult models: instead of media buttons, the device has a row of buttons for common text functions such as copying and pasting, easing the learning process for menus and key commands. Plugging in through USB or PS2 ports, the My First Keyboard ships now for $29.
Motorola's long-awaited upgrade to the ROKR line, the E6, is now being distributed in China. The primary feature of the phone is a 2.4-inch QVGA touchscreen, which is unusual for devices below the smartphone level. The E6 also has a full-sized SD card slot, allowing it to store up to 2GB of music. Motorola has jettisoned iTunes for the phone, however, and so is using RealPlayer to handle MP3, MPEG4, AAC+, WAV, and RealAudio files. A2DP Bluetooth stereo is supported and there are dedicated playback buttons on the side. Other notable features of the E6 include a 2-megapixel cameraphone, handwriting recognition, a document viewer, and barcode and business card scanners.
While the phone is only being sold in China the the moment, American users may be able to take advantage of it through the T-Mobile network, since its been upgraded after the FCC filing to support the GSM 900 and 1800 bands. The phone is selling for 4,280 yuan ($545) at retail.
Expanding its line of noise-cancelling headphones, JVC today launched the HA-NC80, its first dual-mode earpieces. Instead of applying a single, broad noise-cancelling routine that may ignore external sounds that fall outside certain frequencies, the NC80 can be switched between two distinct modes: a broader mode that blocks the higher-pitched sounds common in passenger jets or on the street, and a narrow setting that focuses primarly on the low-end rumbles created by buses and trains. The result is a system that eliminates 75% of unwanted noise, JVC says.
Equally designed for travel are the headband, which folds flat for storage, and the audio cable, which incorporates a second plug for airline audio and video sources. The headphones can either be powered by a single AAA battery or have their noise-cancelling switched off to conserve energy. JVC plans to ship the NC80 in December for $60.
Brando this morning began selling its Car to USB FM Transmitter. The adapter plays music from any stereo minijack source, including digital music players, but is rare in its support for removable storage. The transmitter can play MP3 music directly from SD cards or most USB drives, according to Brando; a dual-role LCD and button set control both FM tuning and track navigation. Its design is also flexible, and can adjust in six directions to fit into small areas while plugged into the 12-volt power socket found on many cars. Owners can select from up to 15 pre-defined FM channels to obtain a clear signal. Brando ships its transmitter for $55.
Japanese manufacturer RockridgeSound has announced the VTS-384, another new iPod dock that relies on vacuum tubes instead of transistors. Many audiophiles believe that vacuum tubes produce a richer sound. The 384 can span frequencies between 80Hz and 20KHz, and each of the three-inch internal speakers has 5W of power. The dock can also be connected to headphones or external speakers for greater output. All iPods are supported from the third generation onwards, but remote control functions for third-gens are limited to play/pause and skipping options. The 384 debuts February 2007 in Japan for 80,000 yen ($690).
Electronics maker Samsung today introduced its distinctive B5800 slider phone to Korea. The design shows a strong resemblance to LG's popular Chocolate handset and shares the concept of a central, circular navigation pad as well as contrasting number keys. Unlike the simpler LG design, however, the new Samsung device uses a scroll wheel with embedded buttons underneath that provide quick access to key functions: services such as e-mail and high-speed Internet access can be selected through a tap in a particular direction, similar to the iPod's click wheel.
The B5800 similarly adds support for Korea's ubiquitous DMB mobile TV format and can snap 2-megapixel photos, an upgrade from the 1.3 megapixels of LG's design. Bluetooth, MP3 music support, and a microSD card slot form the rest of its core features. Samsung is currently shipping the B5800 to Korea through cellular provider KTF; a North American release will likely depend upon either changing or removing the phone's TV support. Profile photos are available after the jump courtesy of Akihabara News.
Telescope experts Celestron today previewed the VistaPix IS70, a unique spotting scope for nature watchers and other outdoors viewers. The IS70 combines a 70mm, 14X zoom telescoping lens with a 3.1-megapixel digital camera that captures either still images or video of the viewer's subject. This helps preserve rare events or sightings and can even be used as a substitute for some macro photography, Celestron says. Photos and videos are stored in both the 32MB of built-in flash memory, which provides room for either 38 full-quality images or 30 seconds of VGA-resolution video, as well as the user's own SD cards for transferring files directly to a computer. The scope can also output its video directly to an NTSC or PAL TV. Originally planned for an October release, the IS70 is now set to officially launch in January at a price of $479.
Adding a new range-topping model to its front projector line, Epson this morning revealed the PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 (not pictured), the company's first 1080p home entertainment projector. Though the company is new to providing the full HD resolution, it says the new system is designed from the outset to beat rivals in terms of image quality. A new three-chip LCD system named C2 Fine provides both faithful color reproduction and exceptional contrast levels, Epson claims: in combination with Absolute Black processing technology and the company's own E-TORL lamp, the new PowerLite Pro is capable of a high 12,000:1 contrast ratio. An updated AccuCinema lens also promises an evenly projected image. The projector is expected to ship to dealers in January for $4,999.
Verizon today officially released LG's enV, also known as the VX9900. In addition to the device's signature, lengthwise clamshell design that reveals a full-length keyboard, the Verizon edition adds support for the carrier's own software features. Users can buy and play music or video from the V CAST service, the company says, or use the bundled VZNavigator GPS software for location tracking. The announcement partially confirms earlier pricing details, establishing a minimum price of $150 with a two-year service contract. Information regarding one-year and retail pricing was not provided as part of the announcement. The enV is shipping today.
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