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Italian luxury furniture maker Alivar has revealed the Contemporary TV Stand, part of the company's Frame Collection. Instead of hiding the video system at the heart of many current living rooms, as with the Starck-designed M.I.S.S., the Contemporary places a flat-panel TV at the center of the room and hides as much of the remaining componentry as possible. The stand in particular relies on a sandwich-style construction that builds in shelving for DVDs, games, and other media along the sides, leaving only a simple shelf for electronics at the front. The entire frame is built of aluminum and can rotate to accommodate a change in seating. Pricing is unlisted but can be found by contacting the company. [Via Trendir]
The Chinese company Leadertone today said it would set foot in the US with its new GPS3000 receiver. In addition to creating a minimalist design that hides physical controls behind a 3.5-inch touchscreen, the company hopes to distinguish its new mapping unit through media features: MP3, WAV, and WMA music is supported alongside AVI and Windows Media videos and several common photo formats. Battery life is promised as longer than average at four hours. Leadertone also claims to have taken obsolesence into account and has provided a connection for an external GPS receiver should the built-in, -159dBM receiver fail or see an replacement in the future. Information about a price and ship date should follow the GPS3000's presence at CES next week. [Via NaviGadget]
Patriot today boasted that it would debut both the world's fastest computer memory and USB flash storage. The memory maker is set to unveil a new addition to its Extreme Performance line of DDR2 memory that will be rated as PC2-10100, offering 10.1GB/sec of bandwidth at what the company claims is a record-breaking 1302MHz. The extra speed is vital for gamers or anyone overclocking memory-hungry, multi-core processors such as Intel's Core 2 Quad line, Patriot says. Availability has not been released but should follow shortly after an introduction at CES.
The company will also take its opportunity at the show to launch Version 2 of its Xporter XT flash storage (pictured). The USB 2 drives should also be the fastest in their class, achieving a 266X speed rating -- a full 33% faster than the company's current models. The throughput translates to a 39MB/sec read rate and promises ideal performance for those who regularly store programs or other large files on the rugged, rubberized drive. Capacities will range between 1GB and 4GB, though pricing again remains unavailable.
Furniture retailer Geoffrey Drayton is now selling Cassina's Music Image Sofa System, or M.I.S.S. The furniture, imagined by well-known designer Philippe Starck, contains both a stereo system with two satellites and subwoofer as well as a video projector that raises from a back compartment. The setup as a whole is designed to hide the cables and machinery that would ordinarily clutter a home theater, keeping a room stylish without the need for even a TV, Cassina says. The M.I.S.S. sells at George Drayton for £4,000 ($7,783) and should be available in other premium furniture dealers. [Via Chip Chick]
Bluetrek on Tuesday revealed plans to introduce its ST1 headphones at CES. In place of the more common overhead or loose cord designs of most Bluetooth headsets, Bluetrek has opted for a behind-the-head design friendlier to athletes and others whose exercise could knock earbuds loose. The band is flexible to fit virtually any wearer, Bluetrek says. The ST1 pairs with most recent Bluetooth phones or music players and has an internal lithium-ion battery capable of 9 hours of continuous playback, or 400 hours of idle time. The phone will ship to Korea shortly after the CES show and is likely to find an audience in North America, though pricing in either territory remains unclear. [Via Engadget]
Taiwanese firm Spectec today revealed the SDV, a card it claims is the world's first video-out adapter for handhelds such as PDAs and smartphones. A two-way miniSDIO or microSDIO card plugs into the storage slot of a given device and sends the image to an attached display. This permits the use of even a cellphone for presentations or movie viewing, the company says. RCA and S-video connectors attach a handset to analog sources; an extra advantage is had with the included VGA output, however, as supporting devices can send an image as sharp as 1024x768 in full color and raise the possibility of using a computer screen as an extended desktop space when at work.
The company adds that its SDV card is compatible with either NTSC or PAL analog video and comes with a wireless remote for handling essential presentation commands from a distance. Pricing is unavailable. [Via SlashGear]
Escient this afternoon announced that its Fireball FP-1 Media Manager for iPods has been released. The new dock makes the iPod part of an advanced home theater through automation and networking support. Both RS-232 and Ethernet ports are built in to control and share media from a dockable iPod with any attached stereo or TV,including those connected to other FireBall devices on the home network. The use of the iPod as a direct source for local content makes the FP-1 one of the few media hubs that can play Apple's FairPlay audio and video standards across a network, according to the company. A TV-based interface lets owners choose content from across the room.
The iPod is not absolutely necessary for the device, Escient says: even when no iPod is attached, the FP-1 streams Internet radio or the unprotected music collections of networked Macs and Windows PCs in AAC, FLAC, MP3, PCM or WMA formats. A USB port is also present to synchronize an iPod with a host computer. The company retails the new FireBall with iPod dock for $600 from Crutchfield and also offers a stripped-down edition without the dock for $500.
The upcoming Wallet MP3 player by Walletex is the thinnest MP3 player in the world, bearing the same dimensions as a credit card, though perhaps a fraction of an inch thicker. While there is no display on the Wallet, the buttons are flat and printed on the front, and the USB connector serves three different functions: charging, file transfer, and output to USB headphones. The player is further said to be dustproof, waterproof, and resistant to extreme temperatures. It's not being sold direct to consumers, but rather to third-party manufacturers, who can print any design they like on the front. No partners have been announced as of yet.
LG is gearing up to launch its definitive Shine phone in North America. Already released in Korea as of December, LG's slider will see its Western debut at next week's CES show. The Shine is widely characterized as the successor to the immensely successful Chocolate and earns its name through an extravagant brushed metal design accompanied by a simple, two-direction scroll wheel for navigation. The phone should still carry its upgraded 2-megapixel camera and 1GB of internal storage when it ships to the US by the middle of this year; a CDMA version is expected first for Verizon and similar carriers. A GSM variant will ship to Europe early this year and may be released in North America later in 2007. [Via Far East Gizmos]
Chipset maker ASUS is readying a unique approach to notebook breakout boxes, according to DigiTimes. Called the XG Station, the adapter will provide not only enhanced sound, as with Creative's recent Xmod, but will also have its own graphics processor to improve the image quality for an attached notebook, according to ASUS. Exact information regarding the AV enhancements remains vague but is known to include Dolby Surround output. The XG Station will connect through USB 2.0 and has a detailed external display for controlling volume and other functions outside of software. More information will be available when CES begins early next week.
Brunton's portable Atlas MNS is unusual for a GPS unit in that it has dual processors, which allows it to not only track your position, but to take barometer readings and create a weather forecast for the next 12 hours. It can also rememeber the weather of the last 36 hours, and has atlas, altimeter, and digital compass functions. The unit's internal memory can be supplemented by external SD and MMC cards, and supports up to 10 routes, 100 plot trails, and 1,000 waypoints and 1,000 event markers. Power is supplied by two AA batteries and will last up to two weeks in compass mode, but drops to 12 hours in continuous GPS mode. The housing is waterproof and submersible. Brunton is selling the AtlasMNS for $359, but Optics Planet has it for $20 less. [Via NaviGadget]
Korean company Axxen has released a series of new portable hard drives which come with their own memory card readers. The A-1800, A-2500, and A-3500 read several different card formats, including CF, SD, xD, MMC and Memory Sticks. Photographers will appreciate the "one-touch backup" option, which instantly begins copying the contents of a card (or another hard drive, via USB 2.0) at the push of a button. Capacities on the drives range from 20GB up to 450GB on the A-3500. Pricing was unavailable at press time, but Axxen is selling the drives from its Axxen Mall website.
TV network Showtime today announced that it would debut its own direct-download store. The service will let viewers buy permanent copies of episodes from the channel's current programming, such as Sleeper Cell and Weeds, for play either on the buyer's home PC or on a portable media player such as the Zen Vision:W. Showtime's store is one of the first designed with Windows Vista in mind, according to the company's partner ExtendMedia: videos bought through the store will be accessible through Microsoft's Media Center interface found in the Home Premium and Ultimate editions of the new OS. Although no pricing was revealed this morning, full details are planned for next week's CES expo in Las Vegas while a launch is anticipated for late January.
The announcement marks another attempt to sidestep the multi-network TV downloads provided by online stores such as iTunes, following launches of streaming-only services by CBS and NBC.
Snow sport accessory maker Burton on Tuesday teamed up with ACP-EP to introduce the Snow Drive USB 2.0 flash stick. Each of the Custom, Gtwin, and Vapor models features graphics from Burton's real-world snowboards and is even protected with a rubberized surface that ensures a safe grip. All three editions come with a neck strap to wear the drive during sports and an LED activity light to prevent accidental disconnections while the drive is in use. Compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs without the need to install drivers, the Snow Drive is shipping now in 512MB ($17), 1GB ($25), and 2GB ($50) capacities. [Via GetUSB]
In spite of stiff competition from Nintendo, Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the best-selling game console of the Christmas season, says research firm NPD. Tracking US sales from the beginning of November until December 25th, Microsoft sold roughly two million Xbox 360s, while Nintendo was close behind with 1.8 million Wiis. Sony's Playstation 3 ranked a distant third, selling just 750,000 units.
These figures are thrown into relief however by the fact that the PS3 launched November 17th, and the Wii November 19th; Microsoft enjoyed a considerable lead time, such that the Wii would likely have won had research been geared to be perfectly fair. Approximately 511,000 360s were sold in November, compared to 476,000 Wiis and 197,000 PS3s. Sony's poor performance can be partly attributed to inadequate manufacturing capacity. [Via The Register]
A recently-established company named AutoNet today said it will soon launch the Mobile In-Car Router, what it claims is the first Wi-Fi router designed to provide uninterrupted Internet access in cars. Rather than use the often short range of traditional Wi-Fi hotspots, AutoNet's network switch connects to 3G cellular data network towers and automatically bridges between towers and networks. The technology can provide downstream speeds as quick as 1Mbps and reaches enough cellular towers to cover 95% of the entire country -- reaching even rural areas well away from major cities, AutoNet says.
The router will be available in March for $399 and will require a $50 per month plan for constant service; Avis Rent A Car, however, will also begin renting cars in March equipped with AutoNet's service for an additional $11 per day. [Via International Herald Tribune]
Large-scale retailer JCPenney today listed the Shower iPod/MP3 Player in its catalog. The portable stereo is based upon a splashproof container that cradles an iPod or most any other MP3 player and routes music from the device's headphone jack to the speakers below, providing a safe environment for the iPod inside a shower or the bathroom as a whole. An AM/FM clock radio is built in, as is a stand for holding the speakers upright on the counter. A rope is bundled with the speakers to hang them from a shower fixture or towel rack. JCPenney says the stereo is powered solely by the combination of a button cell battery for the clock as well as four AA batteries, though playback time is currently unrated. The retailer currently sells the Shower Player for $20 through its online store. [Via Chip Chick]
Dell this weekend inadvertently let slip details that confirm its upcoming 27-inch computer screen. Accidentally posted at a product site for the 20-inch 2007WFP display, a diagram for the 2707WFP confirms the new display's existence and provdes additional details beyond those revealed in a Samsung statement last month. Dell's new screen will have a new display arm that eases adjusting the screen height and should retain the TV-oriented inputs of its 24-inch predecessor, including component video. USB ports and a 9-in-2 card reader are planned for the new LCD as well. While its price remains a mystery, the 2707WFP is expected to debut at CES next week and go on sale shortly afterwards. Click through for the full diagram. [Via DailyTech]
LG today released a new, smaller addition to its X-Note notebooks. The 12.1-inch widescreen Z1 is said to buck the trend towards integrated, shared memory graphics in small portables and includes a dedicated Mobility Radeon X1350 chipset for accelerating Windows Vista's Aero Glass interface and other 3D environments. LG's system is also fast for its class through use of a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of standard memory. Storage includes a 100GB hard drive, an optical drive, and a 5-in-1 flash card reader. The Z1 weighs 4.2 pounds and arrives in Korea soon for $2,027. A full image is available after the jump.
Young startup firm Chestnut Hill Sound today previewed its first device, the George. Central to its design is a front control panel that detaches and becomes an advanced remote: using the Zigbee wireless data format, the remote combines an LCD with a scroll knob to replicate virtually every navigation function of the iPod. An integrated radio tuner can also be controller from the remote through a "bandless" interface, according to the company: AM and FM appear on the same interface and save the trouble of manually switching radio bands. Two separate alarms can be set with volume independent of the sleep timer.
Chestnut is also touting improved sound quality over other all-in-one speakers and has built the George with a pair of coaxial satellites as well as a 4-inch, downward-firing subwoofer that separates lower-end bass from treble. Preamp output is available for linking the system with full-size speakers. The firm says it is targeting premium audio rivals such as Bose and will ship the George later this month with cherry, maple, mahogany, or white wood panel trims for $550. A standalone charging station is optional for $50. Both are expected to see their official introduction at MacWorld San Francisco next week. [Via Crave]
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