News Archive for 06/12/12

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CarCom E9102N GPS unit/media player

12/12, 6:15pm

CarCom GPS/media player

Hong Kong manufacturer CarCom has unveiled the E9102N, a GPS unit that also supports a plethora of media files. Among the compatible audio formats are CD, MP3, MP4, OGG, and WMA, while supported video formats include DVD, DivX, WMV, Video/Super-Video CD, and H.263 (not to be confused with H.264). Media is transferred via SD cards or a USB 2.0 cable, and lands on a hard drive in optional 20, 40 or 60GB sizes. The display is a 4.3-inch touchscreen with 24-bit color. Only composite cables are provided for direct AV output, but owners can use a built-in FM transmitter to produce audio wirelessly. A 1.2W speaker is embedded as well. No pricing or distribution information has been published for the unit.

Marmot ships iPod-friendly iGloves

12/12, 4:55pm

Marmot iGlove for iPod

Marmot today revealed its practical iGlove Multi handwear. The company hopes to overcome the common problem of controlling an iPod's touch-sensitive click wheel through winter gloves, which often dull the responsiveness or negate it entirely. The tips of both the index finger and thumb on each glove are made of a proprietary Playpoint material that Marmot says increases contact with the wheel and lets wearers scroll through menus without exposing their hands to freezing temperatures.

The gloves also sport a sillicon printing on the inside to steady the grip on the iPod and are thin enough to be worn underneath larger gloves in particularly cold weather. Marmot's resellers now offer pairs of the iGlove Multi in sizes between Small and Extra Large for $35.

Brando Stainless Steel MP3 Watch

12/12, 4:30pm

Stainless-steel MP3 watch

Whereas many media-player watches are more player than watch, the Stainless Steel MP3 Watch sold by Brando is aesthetically similar to any other men's piece. Storage sits underneath the face of the device, which holds up to 1GB of MP3 files, plus voice recordings saved in the WMA format. MP3s are transferred through a USB 2.0 cable. The battery of the unit allows over nine hours of continuous playback. To control audio, functions such as Stop and Fast Forward are assigned to standard watch buttons located on the sides. Brando is exporting the watch from Hong Kong for $74 US.

New Nabaztag/tag launches with VoIP

12/12, 4:30pm

Nabaztag tag with VoIP

A new version of the rabbit-like Nabaztag Internet device has launched, according to news posted on the manufacturer Violet's official blog. The Nabaztag/tag expands on the earlier device's WiFi notifications by adding a "belly button" that responds to voice: owners can speak commands to receive weather updates or put the system to sleep, and can also use the Nabaztag/tag as a voice-over-IP device to send MP3 messages to other users.

RFID plays an instrumental role in the new features, Violet adds. By applying a passive tag to an object, an owner can trigger certain actions whenever that object is near, such as an audible response or sending a notification e-mail. The company lists availability today in Europe, though US online store ThinkGeek estimates one to three weeks' delay for North American shipments. US pricing is set at $180.

Sony: PS3 manufacturing problems clearing up

12/12, 3:45pm

PS3 Manufacturing Improves

Sony's chronic supply problems for the PlayStation 3 should be coming to an end, according to a statement provided to today by the console maker. While the company admits that it fell short of the 400,000 units promised for the mid-November launch, as reported previously in NPD research, Sony communications head David Karraker said on Tuesday that the "problems have been resolved" and that the company should still meet its earlier oal of one million PS3 systems shipped by the end of 2006. The company plans to ship consoles by air to compensate for lost time.

Nintendo's Wii console is still expected to outnumber the PS3 in stores, with roughly two million systems due by the end of the year.

Updated Belkin TuneFM nano leaked by FCC

12/12, 3:25pm

Belkin TuneFM nano Leaked

An updated version of Belkin's TuneFM nano is coming soon, according to a recent FCC filing which has leaked details of the adapter in advance of its announcement. While largely identical to its predecessor, the updated version will have the option of an optional, TX mono sound mode that sacrifices maximum audio quality for improved reception in areas with crowded frequencies. The bundled 12-volt car charger will remain part of the package, according to the revealed user manual. No pricing or availability has been announced, though the current model sells for $80.

LG, Prada collaborating on luxury cellphone

12/12, 2:50pm

LG, Prada working on phone

The luxury fashion specialists at Prada are collaborating with LG to produce a new cellphone, due out next year, Pocket-lint reports. Though little is known about the project, Prada's involvement may run considerably deeper than with the comparable Dolce and Gabbana MOTORAZR, which mainly added gold and silver plating. Prada and LG say that they've "jointly explored and developed all aspects of this new phone," changing styling, software, and interface elements. The one confirmed feature of the new product is a touch interface, which may be similar to the one used in LG's current Chocolate series. Initial rollout of the Prada phone will begin with Europe in early 2007, and progress from there to Asia. [Photo courtesy of AVING]

SplitFish adapter adds PS3 motion to PS1, PS2 games

12/12, 2:45pm

SplitFish motionFX Adapter

Game accessory maker SplitFish this afternoon began shipping its motionFX adapter for Sony's older Dual Shock controllers. The add-on clips to the front of the official PlayStation 1 and 2 gamepads and effectively recreates the effect of the PlayStation 3's Sixaxis controller for the earlier consoles' games, allowing gamers to control the core movement in these titles by tilting the gamepad itself rather than use the left analog stick. The technology is also intelligent enough to compensate for the vibrations caused by force feedback, SplitFish says. The motionFX is available today at GameStop for $40.

Forrester iTunes sales study misleading?

12/12, 2:20pm

Forrester on iTunes Sales

While recent claims by Forrester Research indicate that Apple's iTunes revenues are declining, the analysis may be overlooking critical details that reflect the actual connection to iPod sales, according to an article by Ars Technica. Author Mary Tyler notes that the seemingly stagnant growth of iTunes sales relative to iPods is misleading, making assumptions about iTunes usage habits that are inaccurate. No distinctions are made between older and newer iPods, Tyler points out.

"More than a few people have worn out, broken, or otherwise had an iPod put out of commission over the last four years," she says. "People can [also] own more than one iPod that is in use. I know at least a few families where everyone in the family has an iPod."

Tyler suggests that Forrester's statistics may in fact point towards a trend opposite that suggested by the research firm, as the lower number of iPods currently in use could raise the number of songs per iPod to a significantly higher level than previously thought.

Pioneer develops 10X dual-layer DVD burner

12/12, 1:35pm

Pioneer 10X Dual-Layer DVD

The Japanese division of Pioneer today revealed the DVR-A12J, a drive the company claims is the fastest dual-layer DVD writer available today. Improved cooling and disc stabilization are said to ensure reliable burns that were previously thought impossible: a write-once, dual-layer DVD disc can be recorded at 10X speed, breaking past the 8X limit that has previously limited desktop drives. The A12J is also one of the quickest drives overall and writes to single-layer DVDs at 18X and DVD-RAM at 12X.

Additionally, Pioneer's writer makes use of a disc labeling technology dubbed Labelflash: similar to HP's LightScribe, Labelflash can etch a label on compatible discs and save the need for markers or stickers. The drive also ships with a 2MB memory buffer to protect against disc overruns. Models will be available with black, silver, or white faceplates later this month for for $86 in Japan; the drive will ship to North America but has not been announced yet in the region.

Hammacher Schlemmer iPod DJ Mixing Studio

12/12, 1:20pm

iPod DJ Mixing Studio

Offered by Hammacher Schlemmer, the iPod DJ Mixing Studio is not a proper mixing table, but rather lets you add digital effects such as voice, background rhythms, and fill-in sounds (including drum fills) by "scratching" the provided turntables. There are also knobs for adjusting volume and tempo levels on the fly. The Studio takes input from any digital audio player's headphone jack. An output port is provided for recording to a Mac or PC, although Hammacher does not supply the required cable or software. Power for the Studio is provided by four AA batteries. The Studio goes on sale January 2nd for $40.

Cambridge announces PlayDock i speakers

12/12, 12:30pm

Cambridge PlayDock i

Cambridge Soundworks has announced the PlayDock i, an iPod version of the PlayDock Zen speakers (see right) being released for Creative players of the same name. Both docks feature speakers set wide for better spatial imaging, as well as their own built-in subwoofers. The docks are magnetically shielded, and come with infrared remotes and video-out ports that support 640x480 (standard NTSC) resolution on a TV. Notably, the PlayDock Zen also features a telescopic antenna, which aids with the Zen's native FM tuning. The PlayDock i begins shipments in January for $200, while the PlayDock Zen is shipping today at the same price.

HP launches simple nx7300 notebook

12/12, 12:10pm

HP nx7300 Notebook

As a companion to yesterday's release of the HSDPA-equipped nc6400, HP on Tuesday began shipping the nx7300. The 15.4-inch widescreen portable is built as a straightforward notebook for business users and others who would consciously avoid the media functions of the company's more elaborate, home-oriented systems. HP says it has made flexibility a priority: while the base nx7300 ships with as little as a 1.73GHz Celeron M, the system can also be had with as much as a 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo for the sake of performance.

The pared-down approach also reaps benefits in terms of pricing, HP says. A base Celeron model with 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD/CD-RW optical drive ships for $659; a mid-grade model with a 1.66GHz Core Duo, doubled memory, and a 120GB drive is available for $999. Faster computers are available through special orders.

LG debuts PDA with mobile TV, DVR functions

12/12, 11:40am

LG PM-80 PDA With TV

Not commonly associated with PDAs, LG today introduced the media-friendly PM-80 handheld to its line. It bridges the gap between the practicality of cellphones and playback support of dedicated media players, according to the company. Mobile TV is a fixture of the device through support for Korea's DMB broadcast standard; unlike most of the country's handhelds, however, the PM-80 is a self-contained video recorder. Viewers can schedule the PDA to record shows directly to SD cards, saving them for later viewing either on the portable or on a computer. LG estimates roughly 2.5 hours of continuous viewing.

Outside of this key element, the PDA offers many features inherent to Windows Mobile 2003, such as pre-recorded media playback, web browsing, and Office document editing. Pricing and availability are not currently available.

Netherlands first to stop "free to air" analog TV

12/12, 11:10am

Dutch halt analog air TV

The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to stop all broadcasts of "free to air" analog television, reports the Associated Press. The event is a result of a deal with Royal KPN NV, who will get to use the bandwidth to broadcast digital TV, but must continue to offer several state and regional channels for free. KPN has also borne the cost of building digital broadcast masts around the Netherlands to replace the old services. Government-backed channels were available nationally as of Monday, while KPN's paid packages will achieve that status in early 2007.

The changeover may benefit the Netherlands financially as well as technologically. A government spokesman notes that 94 percent of the population is served by cable, and furthermore, only about 74,000 households were using analog antenna reception. The Dutch government should save approximately $14 million per year -- Dutch consumers, however, may be asked to pay $66.50 for a digital tuner if they want their previous programming back.

Verizon carries Moto Q Black, lowers price

12/12, 11:00am

Moto Q Black at Verizon

Verizon this morning began carrying the Motorola Q Black, a rare black edition of the normally silver Windows Mobile smartphone. Although hardware features remain unchanged on the device and include the same 1.3-megapixel camera, EVDO broadband, and media playback features of the original, the phone is said to ship with the latest edition of Motorola's software -- an update currently unavailable to existing owners regardless of their choice of providers.

The phone is currently available for $150 when linked with a two-year contract and other discounts. Verizon has also lowered the price even further for the initial version of the Q, offering the silver model for $100 with a similar plan.

Princeton intros network storage with iTunes server

12/12, 10:40am

Princeton iTunes Storage

Princeton today introduced its PEC-NAV network storage enclosure, a media hub for homes with multiple PCs. The enclosure is one of the few to ship with explicit iTunes server support, the company says. An Ethernet-connected Mac or Windows PC can copy its unprotected AAC and MP3 songs to a Parallel ATA drive inserted into the case, which will then give access to the songs for any iTunes-equipped computer on the network even when the original source of the music is turned off.

Owners can also access almost any audio, photos, or video directly from the PEC-NAV due to its support for the DLNA streaming media standard. Public sharing is also possible through built-in FTP and Samba servers. A front-mounted USB port gives the further option of adding to the internal drive's capacity with flash and hard drives. Princeton expects its drive to ship in Japan by mid-January for $160.

RIM sues Samsung over the BlackJack

12/12, 10:25am

RIM sues Samsung

Research in Motion has launched a lawsuit against rival phone maker Samsung, says the IDG News Service. Creators of phones such as the BlackBerry Pearl, RIM insists that Samsung's new BlackJack and Black Carbon phones violate the BlackBerry trademark. "Samsung is misleading the public into falsely believing that Samsung's goods and services are connected with RIM's business," reads a filing submitted Friday to the US District Court for the Central District of California. If RIM wins its suit, production of the Samsung phones will cease and RIM will be rewarded unspecified damages.

A-Data 12GB Mini Cube with one-button backup

12/12, 10:05am

A-Data Mini Cube

A-Data has recently released the 12GB Mini Cube, the first micro USB drive from the company and one of the smallest available at less than two inches long. Its hallmark is a one-touch backup function rare in its size class: Windows users can press a side button to automatically synchronize the drive with their PC, and also have the choice of scheduling regular backups that occur as long as the drive is plugged in.

Mac and Windows users alike can take advantage of the unique USB connector, according to A-Data. The port swivels a full 180 degrees, either concealing itself completely within the case or stopping at any position outside. The design helps the Mini Cube plug into a computer even in tight spaces. Online retailer Nothing But Software carries the drive today for $125. [Courtesy of Chip Chick]

Creative ships Live! Cam Optia webcam to US

12/12, 9:35am

Creative Optia cam in US

Creative today announced that the Live! Cam Optia is now shipping in the US. The camera had been introduced last month in the company's native Singapore and marks what Creative says is the first truly driverless webcam for Windows PCs. As a USB Video Class device, the camera can be automatically configured for instant messaging and other video software without requiring a software install. The webcam also boasts a universal mounting system that can rest safely on a desk while rotating to provide a clip for a laptop or an LCD display. Creative says its 1.3-megapixel camera is available today online or at Fry's for $80.

Calabash intros World Explorer GPS guide for tourists

12/12, 9:00am

Calabash World Explorer

Calabash this morning announced its World Explorer guide for tourists. The company says its new GPS unit is the first to specifically address the common problems tourists face, from basic needs such as direction-finding and locating restaurants to learning about local culture. Each system comes preloaded with self-guided audio and photo tours that let owners drive or walk at their own pace while studying the history and inhabitants of the region. There are also guides regardless of location: a media player gives access to local music and interviews with locals. The World Explorer's interface is designed to be simple, Calabash says, while the system itself is ruggedized to survive likely accidents. The mapping devices are available today for rent in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, though the company says it plans to expand availability to the rest of the Caribbean and other travel destinations in the near future.

Sharp unveils first 32-inch 1080p TV

12/12, 8:30am

Sharp 32-inch 1080p TV

Sharp today said it had broken a new threshold in LCDs by producing the first 32-inch TV capable of full HD. Split into two variants, the L-32GS10 with chin-mounted speakers and the L-32GS20 with speakers moved to the sides, the new Aquos model is the first from any manufacturer to display 1080p at its size, Sharp claims; previously, the resolution has been limited to 37-inch and larger sets as well as smaller, computer-only displays. The set includes its own digital broadcast tuner as well as dual HDMI inputs to receive a full-quality image. A DVI input is similarly part of the design to provide the resolution when attached to a computer. Analog video is handled via two S-video and four RCA inputs.

The fresh panel design does not preclude performance, Sharp says. The new Aquos is capable of a better-than-average 6ms response time and sports a claimed 2,000:1 contrast ratio thanks to the company's Black ASV technology. Sharp plans to deliver both the GS10 and GS20 models first to Japan on December 22nd for the equivalent of $2,400. An international release is certain but has not yet been announced.


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