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An iPod dock in development at EOS Wireless links up to four sets of stereo speakers together with a wireless connection, providing what the company describes as "whole home audio." Each set can be placed as far as 150 feet away from the base station, and also has a integrated power supply which lets it connect directly to an outlet. The supply can be detached to rest a set on flat surface. Aside from the dock and the transmitter, the base has a subwoofer and its own pair of stereo drivers. Signals are sent out in the SRS WOW (simulated surround) format. The core EOS system begins shipments in March, including one dock and one remote unit for $299. Extra remotes will be sold separately, as will a weatherproof outdoor amplifier and a transmitter/receiver bundle.
Kinesis has just announced its Freestyle keyboard, claiming to have the ideal solution for virtually any typist worried about repetitive strain. The Freestyle is split in half as with similar controllers but can be configured based on the user's needs: the Incline model (pictured) rests on a sloping base for typical writing, but can also be had in a Solo version where the halves are joined only by a cable. Owners can space the keyboard sections as closely together as necessary and will have the choice of a VIP pack that adds individual palmrests and support stands for comfort. Either model supports both Macs and Windows PCs. The Incline and Solo will be available between January and February for an unknown price.
Microsoft's Zune media player is struggling to meet expectations since it launched in mid-November, according to separate business reports. While the company has already been derided for its heavily promoted jukebox slipping to fifth place in marketshare after only two weeks in stores, the player is facing further erosion of its popularity, BusinessWeek's Stephen Wildstrom reports. As of this weekend, the most popular Zune color at online vendor Amazon's site, black, ranked a distant 19th amongst music players. "[It] was outsold not only by 13 iPod models... but by five non-Apple music players," Wildstrom says.
The author is also quick to note that other Zune, especially white, suffer from far lower sales rankings. "If you want to sell a white music player, it had better be an iPod," he writes.
Criticism from Jupiter Research follows after the jump.
Catalog retailer Brookstone today began offering the Podz wireless speaker set. Opting for RF wireless instead of the Bluetooth of the similarly-shaped Plančte, the speakers gain substantial range over most similar systems. Brookstone claims a range of up to 150 feet from the base station for either satellite, even when transmitting through floors or walls.
Listeners also have a choice of portability, according to the retailer. Connected to their respective base units, each speaker can be powered indefinitely when a wall outlet is nearby; however, they can also operate completely wirelessly for approximately two hours by means of internal rechargeable batteries. The Podz set accepts audio from any headphone minijack source and is already in stock at Brookstone for $180.
Audio accessory developer Ion Audio today previewed its distinct iProjector. Set to make an official launch at CES in January, the system links any dockable iPod directly to its 800x600 display, projecting photos or videos on to a screen as large as 90 by 30 inches. The iProjector will also charge its attached iPod and has extra video inputs to accept more conventional sources, although the company has not given specific details. Image quality on the projector is expected to be superior to that of the iPod itself, with 24-bit color and a claimed 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. Ion will ship the system in glossy black for a currently unspecified price.
Elipson today said it had achieved a unique blend of luxury audio and convenience with its Plančte speakers. Working with the Bluetooth device maker Parrot, Elipson says it has revived its characteristically spherical speaker line with newer audio technology. Each set ships with Bluetooth built-in for connecting to any music source that fits the A2DP Bluetooth audio profile, such as cellphones or digital audio players such as Samsung's YP-T9B.
While its wireless audio is an increasingly common feature for personal speakers, the Plančte promises higher-quality audio than many of its challengers, Elipson claims. Rather than rely on a subwoofer or receiver for extra power, both satellites contain their own amplifiers and deliver 60 watts of energy across the two channels. The acoustic properties can also be tuned by a nearby PC. Black and white models in a lacquer finish are available from the company for $1,320; a custom-color option is also available for an extra charge.
HP today said that its new nc6400 notebook would be the first portable launched in the US to come equipped with HSDPA support, giving it an optional connection to Cingular's 3.5G wireless broadband network. The built-in receiver can reach download speeds of 3.6Mbps and also provides the notebook with a global roaming ability thanks to its three-way compatibility, HP says. Travelers to Europe can connect to higher-speed UMTS networks, while even more areas can provide access through the slower but more widespread EDGE format.
The 14-inch widescreen system with the HSDPA option contains a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD rewriter. HP offers the nc6400 variant as a special order from the company and does not list the price. Standard systems begin at $1,199.
The technology news industry lost another one of its luminaries today, according to Shiny Shiny. The woman-oriented news blog has reported that Star C. Foster, one of the site's founding contributors, died unexpectedly this weekend after a leg tumor triggered a pulmonary embolism. Foster was also well-known for her active participation in the blogging and online writing communities. We at Electronista would like to offer our support to Foster's friends and family as well as the staff of Shiny Shiny during what must certainly be a difficult time, and hope that the site will continue its recent success in memory of Foster's efforts.
Corsair is now shipping a 16GB version of the Flash Voyager USB 2.0 drive. As the company describes it, the drive is large enough to hold the entire Lord of the Rings DVD trilogy, while still having space left over. It's clearly designed for business purposes however, as its bundled software allows partitions with 256-bit AES encryption, and the drive is Windows-bootable, which Corsair suggests should allow IT managers to take applications with them as they move from computer to computer. The rubber housing is designed to protect against shock, moisture, and extreme temperatures. Read and write speeds are 22MB/sec and 7MB/sec respectively. The new Flash Voyager should be on sale from major retailers for $299.
Coming in at 40- and 46-inch sizes, NEC's new MULTEOS LCDs can display full HD up to 1080p, and have a brightness rating of 450cd/m2. Viewing angles are an extremely wide 178 degrees. Both HDMI and DVI inputs are supported, and the sets mount to a wall using the VESA FDMI (Flat Display Mounting Interface) standard. The M40 has a 1,200:1 contrast ratio while the M46 reaches 1,000:1. Being business displays, however, response times are limited to 18ms, and the cost may be prohibitively expensive: the M40 is 672,000 yen ($5,820) and the M46 is 924,000 ($8,002). Both sets ship in Japan on January 31st.
Belkin today began shipping its Wi-Fi Phone for Skype, the company's first handset for voice-over-Internet calls. The accessory producer's phone is unique in its built-in support for Boingo hotspots, as the phone can store and automatically use a subscriber's account information to connect to the wireless provider's Wi-Fi paid access points without having to manually enter data each time. This applies even when traveling internationally, Belkin says, and it creates a true world phone that can connect anywhere Wi-Fi Internet access is present.
The phone is also a truly independent Skype device that can be configured for a Skype account without the need for a computer, and handles paid functions such as SkypeOut calling to real-world numbers as well as an address book and other essential features of the VoIP service. Belkin ships its phone today for $180.
LG on Monday revealed its very first in-dash navigation system, the LAN-9600R. Occupying a single DIN slot, the system conceals a motorized, 7-inch touchscreen while still offering GPS and music support that has never been seen before in its class, according to LG. The 9600 is the first dash-mounted navigation unit to use a SiRFStar III GPS receiver; already used in many handheld GPS devices, the chipset greatly improves tracking and reduces the effect of interference on position updates. Map data itself is preloaded on DVDs.
Music and video playback are equal components of the design, LG says. Files can be stored either on 2GB of internal flash memory or added through SD cards as well as USB drives, allowing the 9600 to hold a more permanent media library. LG also includes Bluetooth for hands-free calling and support for live RDS-based traffic information. It launches today in Europe for $1,983 and should arrive in other markets soon.
Microsoft has officially released XNA Game Studio Express, a free version of the future professional toolkit aimed at Windows and Xbox 360 developers. XNA is is based on Visual C#, and should simplify coding by eliminating the need for repetitive sequences. Owners of Game Studio Express can develop complete games on their PC -- but to actually use or play code written for the 360, a subscription to the XNA Creators Club is required. Four months cost $49 at the Xbox Live Marketplace, while a year is $99. Furthermore, only Windows games can be released commercially, since 360 games must be approved by Microsoft, which is withholding that approval until Game Studio Professional ships in 2007.
Coinciding with today's release is the announcement of the Dream-Build-Play contest, in which the winner will have their game published on the Xbox Live Arcade. The contest begins January 2nd and will be open to anyone using Game Studio Express. It is undisclosed, however, if the winner will receive any royalties from his or her game.
Storage maker Fujitsu today said that it has set a new record for capacity in 2.5-inch notebook hard drives. Its new MHX2300BT series of disks uses perpendicular magnetic recording to achieve an unprecedented 300GB of storage, beating the company's earllier peak of 200GB set in March. Although it spins at 4200RPM, the new drive's increased density is said to improve speed without affecting power consumption: its 1.6W of power draw during active use is the best in its class, Fujitsu claims. The MHX line consumes as little as 0.5W when idling and is one of the few notebook-class drives to support Native Command Queuing for faster and more intelligent data loading. Fujitsu hopes to ship the drive in notebooks and other portable devices by early 2007 and will accompany the launch with a less expensive 250GB model using the same technology.
Dell this morning announced that its XPS M1710 notebook is the company's first system to ship with a Blu-Ray drive. An option now exists to fit the 17-inch desktop replacement with a drive that can read and write the next-generation format, including 50GB dual-layer discs. Backwards compatibility exists for playing and recording both CDs and DVDs. The computer is also the first to earn NVIDIA's PureVideo logo, Dell says; its stock GeForce Go 7950 GTX can fully accelerate Blu-Ray video at its native 1080p, offloading the work that would normally be handled by the M1710's 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo. A system configured with Blu-Ray begins at $3,699 and is available today with 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive.
Citing the increased need for flash memory with the speed and storage for video, SanDisk and Sony together revealed Memory Stick PRO-HG, an update to Sony's format that addresses both limits in dramatic fashion, according to the two companies. The format is expected to use refinements in flash chip manufacturing to raise the capacity to as much as 32GB, rivaling the hard drives found in newer portable media players. A combination of a higher interface clock rate and doubled bandwidth will also increase its performance, the partnership claims. If a host device is optimized for PRO-HG, data can be written to the card at a minimum of 15MB per second, more than double the 6MB minimum speed of SD cards. This makes the format ideal for recording video or other content that can quickly consume large amounts of storage. The format will be released in 2007, though neither SanDisk nor Sony would confirm if or when a 32GB card would be available.
Longtime music jukebox maker iRiver has revealed the S7, its first screenless player and the first from the company to directly challenge Apple's iPod shuffle. iRiver emphasizes style by taking advantage of its directional click interface from the Clix and S10: by asking the owner only to tap the borders of the front face for track navigation, the S7 frees space for artwork that would normally be obscured by buttons. Support for "HD" audio is also a priority, the company says. The player is one of the few to support SRS WOW HD for enhancing the audio field and is capable of playing a diverse number of formats, ranging from the more common MP3 and WMA standards to FM radio and OGG files. A launch is planned first for Korea, where the S7 will debut tomorrow for the equivalent of $97; shipments to other regions are expected to follow in the near future.
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