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Coming out in Korea this month is the Samsung SCH-B550, a gaming cellphone with attributes to match. It has a joypad, TV output, a 3D graphics processor, and support for Korea's GXG gaming service. For the average user the phone will have MP3 playback, a two megapixel camera, and DMB TV broadcasts delivered by satellite. Gaming phones have traditionally not done as well in the United States, with the Nokia N-Gage being the only device with any longevity.
Electronics maker Skullcandy have teamed with CamelBak to introduce the latter's M.U.L.E. SC10, a backpack for urban travelers. The bag incorporates controls for both cellphones and iPods into the right shoulder strap and allows the wearer to control either device while they remain safely hidden in pouches. The SC10 also contains stereo speakers and serves as a combination music stereo and speakerphone, CamelBak says. A liquid container mounted on the pack provides drinks for longer or more arduous trips. The partnership hopes to release its new M.U.L.E. pack in time for spring of next year and has not revealed a final price.
Verizon Wireless today began carrying the Motorola W315 as one of its basic phones. The handset is meant to bring the aesthetic of the PEBL to a simpler model. The phone eschews a camera, Bluetooth, and many of the other features that add to the cost of most phones and is notable mainly for its relatively rich network abilities, maintaining instant messaging as well as basic Web browsing. Verizon offers the W315 for only $30 when paired with a two-year service plan.
Gaming input device builder Razer has today launched the DeathAdder. The high-performance mouse achieves the performance of a laser mouse with a less expensive optical system, reaching 1800 DPI sensitivity through a third-generation infrared sensor. The mouse also cuts down on perceived lag through a 1GHz polling rate and a 16-bit data path to the PC, according to Razer. Designed for right-handed owners, the DeathAdder has five programmable buttons and teflon feet for smoother movement. Razer anticipates shipping the mouse before Christmas for $60.
RUN'A on Friday introduced its OTO for SD Card music players. Made for children, each has a Disney character as its central theme: the blue model features the small alien Stitch, while the pink model showcases Minnie Mouse. The two use an iPod shuffle-style control system which is both simple and childproof, according to the company. Also similar is the OTO's transfer method, which saves size and weight by merging audio and data transfer into the headphone jack.
In contrast to the Apple design, however, the new player uses removable SD cards alone for storage: as little as 256MB or as much as 1GB can be stored at any given time. The device supports MP3 and WMA music and is shipping in Japan for $26 without an SD card.
Ceiva has released two digital picture frames tailored for novices to printing and displaying digital photography. Both the 7-inch and 8-inch models can be subscribed to the company's PicturePlan service, which automatically downloads photos sent to the owner's account. The system is ideal for seniors, Ceiva claims, as the service by default connects to the service overnight with its own dial-up modem; no technical knowledge is required to receive images.
Photos can also be loaded to the device through more advanced methods. A built-in card reader copies photos directly from CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD, and other formats. Optional Ethernet ($25) and WiFi ($35) adapters can also be attached to not only speed the service but also create copies that are stored in online albums for others to access. The 7-inch frame is available now for $150 with 3 months of PicturePlan service, and $200 for a full year; 8-inch frames ship with similar options for an additional $50.
ASUS today launched two computer mainboards that the company says will convert any telephone into a VoIP-capable device. Both the M2N/TeleSky for AM2-based Athlon 64 processors and the P5B TeleSky for Intel Core 2 systems share a plug-in telephone adapter that links a home phone with the Skype software of a PC, switching the phone between conventional and Internet calls. The adapter also gives the choice of using a standard phone for Skype-specific functions ranging from SkypeOut calls to real-world numbers as well as multi-user Skype Conference conversations. Owners can even customize the ringtone when receiving calls from different numbers or users, ASUS says. Both the M2N and P2B variants ship today, though pricing remains unavailable.
The DCM270 Docking Entertainment System is an unusual stereo dock being prepared by Philips. Wheareas most docks are built to fit on a shelf or desktop, the 270 is in fact a tower speaker with added CD and radio functions. Moreover, the dock supports not just iPods, but Philips' own GoGear digital audio players. The company has not specified when and at what price the DCM270 will ship; it is known however that the product will be making its premiere at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, scheduled for next month in Las Vegas.
Taiwanese company Lite-On is rolling out the LH-2B1S, a SATA triple-format Blu-ray writer. It can write to BD-R/RE discs at 2x speeds, DVD-R/RW discs at up to 12x, and CD-R/RW discs at 32x. As it's a Blu-ray drive, it requires Windows XP SP2, 2000 SP4, or greater. The product comes bundled with PowerDVD for video playback, and Power Producer and Power2Go for authoring. It should be available soon in the United States, but at the moment the only firm release date is December 6th in Japan for 69,800 yen ($604).
BenQ today unveiled the MusiQ, a screenless flash player aimed directly at the increasingly popular iPod shuffle. The player resembles a military dog tag and is built out of brushed aluminum and magnesium, and attaches easily through a chain to a keychain or necklace. Its small size is not an obstacle to storage, BenQ notes. Even though the base players contain only 512MB or 1GB of flash memory depending on the model, a microSD card slot is built in that can more than double the song capacity. Either capacity will ship with a his or hers matching decorative tag, BenQ says: a "steel wings" logo will be etched on one side of the tag for men, while a "magic beans" floral design exists for women. Both versions come with a metal earphone chain and are expected to launch first in China on December 15th. The 512MB version will retail for $88 US; 1GB pricing has not been released. A profile photo is available after the jump.
Some of Sony's Playstation 3 developers have indicated that the console should be receiving audio-visual upgrades in the near future, writes Japanese site Impress Watch. Key among these is 1080p/24 support; while the console supports other 1080p modes, it has been unable to work with video rendered at 24fps (theatrical film speed). Likewise, the PS3 should eventually have DVD upscaling, which can drastically improve rendering for the high-end TVs that Sony wants PS3 users to own. The console should also permit users to select between RGB and YCrCb color modes. Finally, audio has not been left out of the equation, with the developers promising better software support for Super Audio CDs. An exact timeframe for implenting these upgrades has not been publicized.
JVC and design partner Bongiovi said today that they are producing the first car stereo head unit that can significantly upgrade audio quality by itself. Called the KD-S100, the device uses Bongiovi's Digital Power Station processor to tune the audio properties to a car's existing speakers and audio environment, improving sound quality to near-studio levels without having to improve the speakers themselves. The new chip can independently adjust four channels and uses Digital Subwoofer to create a virtual bass unit, obviating the need for the real thing, according to Bongiovi. The audio system is capable of supporting up to 200 watts of power and includes a front-mounted USB port for playing MP3 or WMA songs from flash drives; connectors for an iPod interface and Sirius radio tuning are optional. The KD-S100 is now available through a network of US car dealerships as an aftermarket part.
USB hubs are frequently utilitarian; not so the new LaCie Huby, which has an orb-like design created by the Ora-Ito studio. The top half is normally removed, revealing eight LED lights for each of the cables that can be connected. If space is at a premium though, it can be attached again to thread all the cables together. The Huby adds four USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire 400 ports. It ships with eight connection cables, a USB fan, a USB light, and two extension cords. LaCie is selling the hub for $79.
Samsung executives have signed an agreement with Dell to produce a 27-inch LCD, DigiTimes reports. Referring to a statement found in the Korea-based Electronic Times, the Taiwanese publication says that Dell has entered into a long-term contract that would see it using the LTM270M1, a 1920x1200 screen with an exceptionally high 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a 6ms response time, and 500cd/m2 brightness.
The exact use of the panel in Dell's display line remains unclear, however. While the Samsung LCD can form the core of a TV, the Electronic Times says, the pixel resolution is unusually high for the TV class and would mark one of the first 1080p-capable sets. As a computer display, it would also closely match Dell's existing 2407WFP and similar displays in terms of features and resolution despite its larger image. An official answer to concerns will be made in January 2007 when both Dell and Samsung release displays at the new size.
Intempo on Friday began shipping its IDS-01b iPod speaker dock. As a contrast to normally conservative speaker colors, the new systems ship in metallic colors that match the brighter spectrum of the second-generation iPod nano. While intended for these flash players, however, the designs work with any dockable iPod as well as any device that can plug into a minijack input, such as the iPod shuffle. The 12-watt stereo system has a 3D bass audio enhancer and can also synchronize iPods by plugging into a Mac or Windows PC's USB port. Advanced MP3 Players is now selling the IDS-01b for £35 ($69).
BenQ today released the FP93G X+, an upgraded version of the company's existing FP93G X 19-inch LCD. The company maintains its claim that the display has the fastest response times of its kind, maintaining the 2ms gray-to-gray time of its predecessor. Use of the company's own Advanced Motion Accelerator to optimize the performance of the panel in the mid-level colors, where most users are likely to notice ghosting or other artifacts. This response time makes the X+ version an ideal replacement for a CRT by gamers or avid movie viewers, BenQ says. The primary upgrade to the screen is an improved contrast ratio, which increases from 700:1 to 800:1. A brightness of 300 cd/m2 and the thin 13mm (0.5-inch) bezel carry over from the previous design. The FP93G X+ offers both DVI and VGA ports and will be available later this month for an unspecified price.
Mel Karmazin, CEO of satellite radio provider Sirius, said today that his company expects to offer live video over its network by the end of 2007, according to Reuters. Speaking at a presentation held by the press agency, Karmazin indicated that Sirius was "very close" to finalizing three content deals that could be ready as soon as the CES 2007 show in January, allowing the network to offer video at a later date. The service will primarily be targeted at children in the back seat watching headrest-mounted displays, the CEO said, and should be integrated in 2008 model year cars that will be released later in 2007. Pricing is expected to climb above the $13 per month set by radio-only service but has not been officially determined.
XM Satellite Radio also hopes to implement video broadcasts, but is waiting to see a significant audience for the content before investing in the technology.
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