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HP has inadvertently pre-announced an upcoming tablet notebook dubbed the tx1000 (pictured). Discovered through the combination of an online search as well as a Windows Vista promotional kit provided by Microsoft, the 12-inch computer will be a showcase for the new operating system's features and should have a mini-remote for controlling Vista Home Premium's media center functions as well as dual sets of headphone jacks and microphones for sharing audio with friends. The tablet's owner can selectively remove the optical drive as well and should save as much as 0.37 pounds of traveling weight when CDs and DVDs become unnecessary. Options will also exist for a fingerprint reader, touchscreen input, and mobile cellular broadband. Many of these features are likely to be reserved for a high-end tx1002 model while the basic tx1001 goes without.
Also part of the Microsoft press package is confirmation of the highly anticipated "Crossfire" touchscreen all-in-one desktop being prepared to challenge the iMac. The system will be officially titled the HP TouchSmart PC and is being positioned by Microsoft as the definitive Vista platform. It and the tx1000 series are likely to be revealed at CES and may be shipped by the January 30th Vista introduction. [Via SlashGear]
Korean sensor manufacturer PLK is deploying the the RoadBox Driving Recorder, a camera meant to document the circumstances of an accident. Though it records continuously, the camera only saves its footage when internal sensors detect the force of a crash. It stores 14 seconds prior to the accident and six seconds from the immediate aftermath, noting speed and acceleration data simultaneously. While the RoadBox is designed to mount to the front windshield of a car, it can in theory be attached to any window to provide total coverage. A wide-angle lens ensures a high field-of-view. It's not known at the moment if the unit will ship outside South Korea, and/or at what price.
Electronics giant Hitachi has produced an extremely high resolution LCD made specifically for phones and similar handheld devices, Japan's Nikkei BP reports. It measures only 2.9 inches long but achieves an unprecedented resolution of 800x480, offering roughly five times the screen area of the 320x240 displays used in today's smartphones as well as higher-end, call-focused handsets. The feat was accomplished by rethinking the design of the back panel, Hitachi says. Since sharper resolutions require denser wiring that can block the backlight and dim the resulting image, the company reduced the size of the wiring itself and optimized the pixels to make better use of the available light. Hitachi expects the screen to be ideal for watching DVD- and NTSC-quality videos, neither of which has been an option with previous technology.
Production has begun today for the new LCD and should find its way into final devices early next year, though the company has not revealed its first customers or a specific timeframe for shipping products.
Toymaker Hasbro today unveiled its third dancing music companion for digital music players. The appropriately-named i-CY will flap and move to the rhythm of music from an attached music device such as an iPod or any other audio source with a 3.5mm minijack port. Feedback is also there to engage children while they play, Hasbro says: the penguin-like toy will also respond with its own music and lights to communicate its mood, and will squawk if left turned on but ignored by its owner. It requires three AAA batteries to run and is due to appear in March 2007 for $20. [Via Chip Chick]
The success of LCD televisions in recent months may ultimately hurt the very manufacturers who expect to benefit most from the booming sales, according to a report by iSuppli. While the number of units sold is expected to jump by 57 percent in 2007, the actual revenues from those units is only likely to increase by 20 percent -- resulting in far smaller margins that leave little room for error. Manufacturers are said to be countering the price drops by shifting their focus to 40-inch and larger LCDs; however, the average price of even these sets is predicted to fall from just over $1,700 this holiday season to $1,200 by the same period next year.
The news comes as a number of low-cost TV makers such as Mustek and Vizio have revealed that they hope to shatter price barriers on larger TVs, which normally hold on to larger profits courtesy of a perceived higher value over smaller models.
Novomax upgraded its Bluetooth SoundStation line with the BT S200 hands-free kit. The egg-shaped device is a major replacement for the earlier S110 and introduces an OLED screen that displays caller ID, a phone's contact list, and other immeditately relevant information. Truly unique is support for multiple phones, according to Novomax. An additional handset can pair with the S200 at the same time, allowing three-way conference calls. A built-in lithium-ion battery powers the kit for 6 hours of conversation or 550 hours of standby. No information has been released about the price or ship date, though the company anticipates a North American introduction. [Via Gearlog]
Korean firm ATEC is branching out into the US market with its line of LCD televisions. First to make its appearance in North America will be a 42-inch model: using a recent LG-Philips panel, the new set will be one of the few at its size to be capable of a full 1080p HD resolution. Dual HDMI inputs will be standard, as will a virtual surround sound effect and a dynamic volume adjustment feature that preserves the viewer's preferences regardless of a source's output levels.
Few other details have surfaced regarding the set, which will make its first appearance outside of Korea at the CES expo in January alongside the equally 1080p-ready 47-inch model. Shipping units are expected soon afterwards.
Where most GPS add-ons connect externally to mobile devices, the SDG-810 by Spectec plugs into an SD slot, adding a 20-channel SiRF Star III receiver. Signals are captured by an antenna jutting out of the exposed section. To comfort owners worried about losing their storage capacity, the 810 also manages to fit in a microSD reader, which supports cards up to 2GB in size. Accuracy on the receiver is 32.8 feet in 2D RMS mode but between 3.3 and 16.4 feet in 3D RMS. The weight of the device is just 1.1 ounces. Spectec hasn't disclosed its pricing or distribution plans, but interested parties can contact the company to locate a local supplier.
Teclast on Wednesday previewed its distinctive C260 media jukebox. Standing out amongst its features is the addition of a 2.4-inch touchscreen that lets the user navigate tracks through the screen itself instead of buttons, which are also included. The screen technology is intelligent enough to recognize when presses are deliberate, according to the company. Teclast also makes the unconventional choice of using microSD cards for storage and supports not only music, photos, and videos but also eBooks and games. It should launch in China soon for $50. [Via CrunchGear]
Microsoft may be attempting to steer the initial reaction to Windows Vista's imminent launch by providing some of the most influential bloggers with free portables, according to reports by Scott Beale and other recipients. Each system is a top-end model in Acer's flagship Ferrari line and varies from the ultraportable Ferrari 1000 (pictured) to the mid-range Ferrari 5000. The custom-configured systems, however, are said to ship with preinstalled copies of Windows Vista Ultimate -- the premium edition of Microsoft's as yet unreleased operating system. The exact criteria used to determine who receives a system has not yet been determined but is likely to include those Microsoft believes would be most likely to convert otherwise hesitant users.
"It could be that they are reaching out to bloggers who are Mac users," says Beale. "Or it might just be that people I know who work for Microsoft or other influential bloggers recommended me."
Brando is exporting a portable USB 2.0 card reader which also doubles an MP3 player. Users simply stick an SD or MMC card into the slot, load it with files, and hit Play when they want to hear music. A pair of 16mW headphones is included, but the only music controls on the reader are Play/Pause and Volume. The device offers up to 10 hours of playback on a single AAA battery -- not included -- and is compatible with Windows 98SE or Mac OS 8.6 or greater. Brando is selling the reader for $15 US in blue or black.
Made by Taiwan's Transystem, the i-Blue 757 is a GPS receiver with an unusual clamshell design, the lid revealing a solar panel. Using the solar technology can extend battery life from 30 hours to as much as 100. The device can be recharged with or without the panel. Another unique feature is the Bluetooth connection, which can be set to a mode dubbed "permanent standby" -- the connection will stay dormant at the cost of a little more power, but can be awakened and running in seconds by using a separate Bluetooth device, such as a notebook, pocket PC or smartphone. The i-Blue will go back to sleep when the connection is closed. No information is available on pricing or distribution outside of Taiwan.
Motorola today received FCC approval for its A910 clamshell phone, according to the newly published filing. While previously available elsewhere in the world, the A910's approval paves the way for an American release with GSM-based cellular providers.
Added significance stems from the phone's distinct feature set. As with the recently unveiled Nokia 6086, Motorola's device sports a WiFi transmitter that supports Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) for bridging cellular and VoIP calls, making it a prime candidate for T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service. The A910 is also rare amongst Motorola handsets in abandoning the company's self-made OS in favor of a hybrid of Linux and Java. No release details have been leaked about the 1.3-megapixel camera phone in the filing, though an early 2007 launch to coincide with T-Mobile's full-scale UMA deployment is likely.
Edge Tech has debuted a new portable flash drive, this time the DiskGO Biometric. As with most biometric drives, the device has a fingerprint reader that controls access; the DiskGO is distinguished, however, by using a sliding mechanism to protect the reader from debris and light impacts. Data can be protected with additional passwords and 192-bit TES encryption. The drive requires Windows 2000, ME or XP, and transfers at speeds of up to 480Mb/s via a USB 2.0 cable. It's being sold online in three different size increments: the 1GB model is $70, the 2GB is $100, and the 4GB costs $150. [Via Shiny Shiny]
Samsung on Wednesday added to its slew of recent announcements by revealing one of the first publicly available fuel cell battery packs for notebooks. The external adapter is intended for Samsung's Q35 ultraportable and uses a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) to extend the system's existing battery life by as much as eight hours, greatly exceeding the usual increase given by lithium-ion packs. Although larger than most external batteries, the design uses its shape to its advantage by doubling as a small stand to elevate and tilt the Q35 for a more comfortable angle. A cap lets the owner refill the cell with methanol when the existing capacity runs dry. Exact availability has yet to be determined.
Those for whom desktop space is at a premium will appreciate the KB-Dock by Atech, a keyboard which incorporates an iPod dock, as well as three separate card slots that support up to ten different formats. The dock lets you sync and charge click-wheel iPods and iPod minis; supported card formats include CF, SD, xD, Memory Sticks, Microdrives and more. Note that the card reader is actually a separate unit connected to the computer, through which iPod data passes at the same time. The keyboard requires Windows 2000 or XP, and PS/2 and USB 2.0 ports are needed simultaneously to take advantage of special functions. B&H is selling the KB-Dock for $40. [Via Chip Chick]
Native has just introduced the NV-PS612, a pocket-sized speaker set for iPods and other music players that promises greater sound quality than any equally-sized system. The PS612 is 4.3 inches long but incorporates a side-firing subwoofer that produces bass well beyond the characteristically underpowered levels of portable speakers, according to the company. Native eschews disposable batteries for a lithium-ion model that it says delivers 10 hours of playback per charge and can be recharged through a USB cable connected to a PC. The 2.1-channel speakers are already shipping through Rakuten and other dealers for the equivalent of $34.
Argard late yesterday provided an early glimpse of its M10 Bluetooth earpiece. Scarcely larger than a coin, the entire headset sits within the ear rather than hooking around the earlobe or relying on an external receiver to connect to its owner's cellphone. It weighs only 5 grams (0.18 ounces) despite its metallic body and has enough battery life for 3 hours of active talk time as well as 100 hours in standby mode. No immediate details about the M10's formal launch are available, though the company does plan to bundle multiple ear inserts to accommodate most callers. [Via Crave]
Pentax this morning announced details of its new DSmobile 600 portable scanner. The USB-based device is the company's highest-resolution mini-scanner to date and can scan documents as small as business cards or sheets as large as 8.5 x 14 inches. The increased image quality has no impact on power consumption, the company says. The scanner uses no more than two watts of power during even the heaviest scanning activity and can be powered entirely through the USB cable. A convenient quick-access button launches the user's preferred scanning program. Although designed initially for Windows, the company says its scanner is Mac-compatible and gains full TWAIN scanner control through a downloadable driver for Mac OS X 10.3 or later. The DSmobile 600 begins shipping in January for $135.
Dyne early on Wednesday revealed two new luxury flash players built with video as a core focus. The leading Tuny 9 (shown) is rare for its inclusion of TV out in a flash-based music player, allowing the display of either JPEG photos or MPEG-4 videos on a much larger screen. The player itself has a comparatively large 2-inch screen and can play video for as long as 8 hours, according to the company's claims. Music playback for MP3, OGG, and WMA is rated at 18 hours. Bluetooth speaker support as well as FM radio tuning are integrated into most models.
Unveiled at the same time is the Tuny 11, a smaller player that emphasizes its discreet size (0.31 inches thick) over features. All but Bluetooth and OGG format support remain intact from its counterpart, while the screen has shrunk slightly to 1.66 inches to further compact its shape. Both it and the Tuny 9 will be available soon in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB editions for an unspecified price. [Via DAP Review]
Cellphone maker Pantech today added the 150 series of phones to its range. Topping the announcements is the U150 (pictured, left), a slider phone with an iPod-like combination directional and scroll wheel that responds with purple lighting depending on movement. Pantech says it has designed the phone with music in mind and has integrated 1GB of flash memory for storage; the sound itself has received 3D enhancements while the MP3 player software has been upgraded from earlier models.
By contrast, S150 (right) is a style-oriented clamshell phone that shifts attention towards appearance. The phone has received an IF Design award for its textured black shell, Pantech says. Even so, the phone maintains a large external LCD, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and MP3 playback. Mobile broadband is also present. Both it and the U150 will be available soon through the Korean cellular provider SKY. Larger photos are available after the jump courtesy of Akihabara News.
Samsung's mobile division this morning ended its year by releasing the Z720, a slider phone that it claims is the thinnest HSDPA-capable handset of its kind. Known as the Ultra Edition 13.8 for its 13.8mm (0.54 inches) thickness, the Z720 is also light at 80 grams (2.8 ounces) but can still connect to HSDPA's 3.5G wireless Internet at 1.8Mbps, far eclipsing the speeds of earlier technologies such as EDGE or UMTS. Cameras are just as important in the design, the company says: a 3-megapixel camera faces outwards for still photos and video, but a second VGA camera faces the user for video and self-portraits.
New software also marks the phone's appearance. A personalization tool named uGo can automatically adjust the background image to reflect a landmark and the time of day in the user's current location. In turn, uTrack recovery software gives remote warnings of changes to the SIM card and can locate the phone should it be lost. Samsung also notes that Google mobile search and Gmail clients have been added for the first time. The Z720 is shipping now in most of Europe. A North American launch will require an expansion to four-band GSM. Click through for a more detailed profile photo.
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