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I-O Data on Thursday revealed a pair of TV tuners to coincide with the introduction of Windows Vista and its updated Media Center home theater software. Announced in both PCI and USB editions, the GV-MC both play and record analog TV signals in Microsoft's new operating system as well as in Windows XP Media Center Edition. Either version accepts RCA and S-video as a source, I-O Data says; the PCI card's larger size also permits a co-axial plug for direct cable TV video. A quality image is promised with a 10-bit DAC and noise reduction compensating for weak broadcasts.
The tuners are currently slated to appear in Japan during late January at prices of $105 (PCI) and $123 (USB), releasing just before Vista arrives at the end of the same month. An optional infrared remote will work with either GV-MC model for $36. [Via I4U]
LaPazz says its D-Note DNA500 notepad is one of the more advanced digital notepad systems available. Where most notepads only support single-color images, the DNA500 has three separate pens for black, blue, and red whose colors are recognized by the bundled software. This enables drawings with highlights and other more complex elements without resorting to proprietary inks. Any standard pen refill will work, LaPazz says. 32MB of memory is onboard and the pad will run for 100 hours of continuous writing on four AAA batteries; connecting the pad to a PC through USB not only allows for copying sketches to a PC but transforms the pad into a basic tablet input device. LaPazz will be at CES in January and is already shipping its signature D-Note for $185. [Via OhGizmo]
Korean company Dunherm today revealed its DH-S500 compact speakers. The company says its stereo is built for LCDs, notebooks, and other thin computers and shares the curving aluminum stand of the iMac, which in this case floats the satellites above the desk. The pair of speakers consumes no more than five watts of power and can be powered completely by three AA batteries as well as by an AC outlet, suiting them well for travel according to the company's assertions. Dunherm says its speakers are available today for the equivalent of $11.
Toshiba's US division has delayed its flagship HD-XA2 HD DVD player to January, according to a dealer's report at AVS Forum. Previously scheduled for December, the launch of the $1,000 disc player has been pushed back due to production delays. Also likely to miss the ship date is support for 1080p video at the film-standard 24 frames per second, according to a separate poster; the code required is now expected as part of a firmware update that will debut in a few months' time. Core improvements over the now shipping HD-A2 remain intact and include an HDMI 1.3 port for deeper color. [Via Engadget]
ASUS today refreshed its U5F notebook to use the mobile version of Intel's Core 2 Duo processor. Starting at 1.66GHz, the upgraded 12-inch portable will be available with as much as a 2.33GHZ processor for performance-minded users. At its base level, the system will ship with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard disk, a webcam, and integrated Bluetooth to complement the by now typical WiFi access.
The U5F also continues ASUS' practice of incorporating the company's Splendid technology for improving color accuracy and is bundled with a carrying bag and USB mouse to cater to its traveller audience. No pricing has been listed for the computer, which goes on sale today in China and should be available in North America and other regions soon.
Target on Thursday listed the Beat Generation Podblaster music player case, its solution for frequent travelers who look to enjoy music without endangering their iPods or most other small media players by removing them from a protective shell. The Podblaster's vinyl outer covering features two prominent speakers that will play any sound from a device connected to the headphone jack inside. The flip design allows the carrier to quickly change tracks without removing the player from its case. A wrist strap is built-in to protect against drops while the case is in hand. Target retails the case and speaker hybrid in both white and wood grain colors for $50. [Via Chip Chick]
Fulton Innovation has developed a technology called eCoupled Intelligent Wireless Power, which the company says will debut at next month's Consumer Electronics Show (January 8th to the 11th). The promise of the technology is wireless transmission of power using inductive coupling, a concept which was once explored by scientists such as Michael Faraday and Nikola Tesla. The traditional problem with the idea has been the lack of stability -- even slight variations in distance can reduce the power being transferred. Fulton says it has solved this problem with adaptive circuity, which adjusts the magnetic field to ensure drops no greater than two percent.
The use of eCoupled chargers will be limited primarily to portable devices such as PDAs and smartphones, which users will simply place on top of a charger to refill. The company hopes to expand their use to other devices however, such as office equipment, kitchen appliances, and even medical hardware. Current corporate partners include Motorola, Visteon, Herman Miller, and Mobility Electronics.
Microsoft's Vista business launch was premature and has instilled doubt that the company was ever truly ready for a 2006 launch, according to an expert speaking to PC World. Analyst Russ Cooper of Cybertrust observes that much of the compatibility is broken, leaving many early adopters stranded as essential tools such as antivirus or tax software break and require updates that may be months away from completion.
"I say Microsoft never intended anybody to run Vista prior to January," Cooper notes. "What works on Vista, beyond Office 2007?"
Additionally, PC World finds that Microsoft is creating inexplicable delays in important fixes, citing an Internet Explorer 7 performance fix that was released for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 this month but which will not appear for Vista until February or later, after the public launch of Vista has already taken place. A Microsoft spokeswoman said such fixes were handled on a "case-by-case basis" but did not account for the delay.
Though in many ways a conventional GPS unit, Deluo's Routis EZ100 (a.k.a. RoadMentor) bears the uncommon trait of a vertical screen orientation, better suited to 3D map views. Standard 2D maps are available as well. Other features of the 3.5-inch LCD include touch sensitivity, plus day and night modes for easier viewing. The unit comes with a 1GB SD card pre-loaded with maps of the United States, and performs several tasks such as route exclusion and automatic route recalculation. Five million points of interest are listed in the unit's database. The Routis is selling for $339 from Deluo, or $375 from Amazon.
Gaming-oriented memory producer OCZ will later today reveal its first video card. Dubbed simply the OCZ 8800 GTX, the board will use NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTX chipset at its standard 575MHz core and 1.8GHz memory speeds, but will have each unit hand-picked for its ability to overclock: only the most easily enhanced chips will be chosen from each batch, OCZ claims. The 8800 GTX from the company will be tied to a lifetime warranty, though the company has not revealed whether or not overclocking will affect support. Cards will begin shipping almost immediately after the launch and are expected to list near the official $649 price NVIDIA has set for its chipset. [Via The Inquirer]
Brando has begun offering its USB Phonebook Flash Drive for frequent cellphone users. Equipped with adapters for common Nokia, Samsung, and Sony-Ericsson phones, the flash drive's sole purpose is to transfer a phone's contact list to or from the handset for backup and editing. One button downloads the list from a phone's SIM card to the drive. A second press of the same button can send that same list to a PC through a USB port, while a different button reverses the entire process for updating the address book on the phone itself. As many as 10,000 contacts can be held at once, Brando says. The drive ships immediately from Brando for $21. [Via SlashGear]
Product designer Rune Larsen has revealed a concept phone named only the Eclipse. A reverse slider phone where the display can be hidden inside the casing, the curved design that forms the handset's namesake features only a basic number pad and simple navigation controls; the minimalist focus is meant only for calls, contact lists, and SMS texting and recalls the early era of small cellphones, Larsen says. The monochrome, transparent LCD is both a nod to classic phones and a way of preserving battery life in a space-constrained phone that would measure only 2.2 inches long when closed.
While no production plans have been announced for the Eclipse, which was privately designed, it may help dictate the future of cellphone design and reverse a trend towards complex smartphones. Click through for a full image. [Via Gizmodo]
The Discovery Channel hopes to offer an alternative to listening to radio in the morning with its just-launched Tri-Fold Wireless MP3 Shower Mirror. The accessory is built to accept almost any audio source, ranging from CD and digital audio players to TVs, according to Discovery. An FM transmitter module plugs into a standard headphone jack and broadcasts to the mirror's speakers from distances up to 100 feet. The mirror itself secures to a wall with tape or suction cups, and is lit as well as fog-proofed for easier grooming. An LED clock and a standard FM radio receiver give access to the features of more conventional shower sets. The Tri-Fold sells for $100. [Via Chip Chick]
The copy protection at the heart of next-generation disc formats such as Blu-Ray and HD DVD has been broken, according to a code writer's post at the Doom9 video enthusiast forums. The contributor claims to have written software, named BackupHDDVD, that bypasses the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) protection found on the new storage formats and allows users to copy data from the otherwise restricted discs to a PC.
Though in rough form and limited to a handful of HD DVD titles, the program appears to confirm early fears that AACS is too similar to CSS, the encryption scheme used by standard DVDs and famously bypassed by Jon Lech Johansen in 2002. If validated, the circumvention could force a radical revision of copy protection on future discs. Johansen had previously said that AACS would likely be rendered ineffective by the end of this year.
A video claiming to prove the success of the technology can be found after the jump.
Atlantis has just released the X-380 GPS system. A smaller counterpart to the X-5600 released earlier this month, the X-380 is equipped with a 3.5-inch screen and mounts inside a car's windshield. Although meant for US travel and shipping with a 1GB SD card preloaded with US and Puerto Rican road information, the newly unveiled Atlantis unit provides voice directions in any of 18 different languages. The company also promises reduced distractions through larger, simpler buttons. Automatic rerouting, 3D maps, and point-of-interest searching are also present. Amazon carries the X-380 today for $450. [Via NaviGadget]
Toshiba has just revealed its TS605 candybar phone. While doing without EDGE, HSDPA, or other broadband connections, the GSM-based handset is designed for music and style, according to the company: an FM radio is built-in, as is a microSD card slot for up to 1GB of AAC or MP3 songs. The backing of the phone is available in any one of several exotic color schemes ranging from aubergine (dark purple) to bright green. A slim profile is also crucial to the design, which measures only 0.4 inches thick. Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel camera for photo and video recording round out the phone's features. The phone is available now in Europe, though pricing varies by carrier. Full imagery can be found after the jump.
Spectra today revealed the KT4560, the first iPod clock radio to bear Sanrio's Hello Kitty name. Designed to charge and play music from all of Apple's dockable iPod models, the two-watt stereo includes an AM/FM tuner and can be set to wake to an attached iPod, the radio, or an alarm. Spectra has also given the stereo the rare extra of a video output jack for displaying an iPod's photo or video library on a nearby TV and sports an auxiliary input for third-party audio sources. No pricing or release details have been made public, though the new Hello Kitty speakers should be available soon in the US. [Via Chip Chick]
Mitsubishi today entered the growing ranks of 22-inch computer LCD manufacturers with its new RDT221WM line. The screen shares the 1680x1050 resolution, 5ms response time, and 800:1 contrast ratio of its peers but also includes a pair of one-watt, chin-mounted speakers for sound. DVI and VGA ports give the choice of digital or analog connections. Mitsubishi intends to launch the displays in black and silver colors for the Japanese market first on January 26th, just before the official launch of Windows Vista; the display's wide screen is ideal for the gadget sidebar in the new OS, the company claims. Pricing is set at $506. An American introduction is possible but has not been announced.
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