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Computer maker ASUS today made a large series of new device announcements in the run-up to CES 2007. Leading the introductions is the W5Fe (pictured), the company's hotly-anticipated ultraportable. The 12-inch widescreen PC is the first to support Microsoft's Windows SideShow for viewing the computer's data without powering the main system. In its finished form, the SideShow display syncrhonizes with its host PC's startup or shut down phases and provides quick access to contacts, e-mail, and music; it even serves as a navigation display, ASUS says. The base system ships with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 80GB hard disk, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. The system will launch soon after Vista's own debut in late January, with pricing varying by region.
Details of the XG Station video card for notebooks and the AiGuru S2 VoIP phone can be found after the jump.
Kodak today made a late entry into the pre-CES announcements with its EasyShare C653 point-and-shoot camera. Geared to basic users, the 6.1-megapixel camera uses its namesake EasyShare button to streamline transferring photos to a computer or printer, and can simulate image stabilization through a digital anti-blur mode. The camera's sensor is paired with a 3X optical lens and 2.4-inch LCD, and can achieve a relatively high ISO 1250 sensitivity, according to Kodak. A panorama stitch mode assists in creating wide-angle shots. The C653 is powered by AA batteries and ships today for $130.
MSI Computer on Friday afternoon previewed its new Media Live home theater PC. The system builder hopes to break away from the conventional focus on analog TV for media center PCs by incorporating an HDMI output, guaranteeing 1080p playback for future encrypted movies. A combination of support for dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors with built-in NVIDIA graphics will help drive both 3D games and HD video, MSI claims. The computer is capable of 7.1-channel surround and includes a hidden 12-in-1 card reader for directly loading and viewing photos. Pricing is unavailable, though MSI should offer Media Live as a barebones model with power supply and mainboard soon.
Click through for details and photos of the company's crystalized notebooks.
The R2-D2 Communication System by Nikko is much more than a toy robot for Star Wars fans. Not only can owners move R2 using software or the lightsaber remote, he has a 628x582 webcam, and the remote doubles as a USB Skype phone, complete with dialing buttons. The dialpad is revealed by twisting the handle. A stand for the lightsaber doubles as the wireless link between R2 and the PC. This latter fact is particularly important, because users can control the robot from anywhere in the world so long as they have Internet access, and the installed application. Sound effects are played as R2 moves or encounters surface endings. Nikko has yet to say when and at what price their product will appear, but interested customers can contact the company for details.
In addition to their LCD TVs, LG has just revealed five new LCD computer monitors. These are the L196WTQ-WF, L206WTQ-WF, L226WTQ-WF, L226WA-WF, and the L246WP, coming in 19-, 20-, 22- and 24-inch sizes, respectively. The L226WA-WF is distinguished from its brother by including a variety of unspecified AV inputs. It is known however that all the monitors will have HDCP and DVI inputs, and the L246WP will support component input and resolutions up to 1920x1200. The performance of the 246 is otherwise degraded from the other monitors, having 1,000:1 contrast and 8ms response versus figures of 3,000:1 and 2ms. Like most of LG's TVs, nothing has been said about cost or exact release dates.
Sony on Friday announced a series of refreshes to its VAIO portables to coincide with the upcoming launch of Windows Vista. While the company has not yet made a complete announcement, it has revealed changes both cosmetic and technical to its new line. The company is first to add a new color to the company's style-focused C-series: called Rediscovery Blue (shown), the tint is meant to evoke self-awareness and stimulation. More substantial is the update to the mainstream N-series, says Sony: to be called the N20, the new range will add Core 2 Duo processors and should have enhanced graphics performance to handle the 3D-accelerated glass interface of Vista Home Premium. The entry-level FE-series notebooks will gain dual backlight lamps and a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor.
A final known introduction scheduled for the event will be Sony's LA2, a successor to the existing LA1. Once sold in the US as the LS1, the all-in-one desktop computer and TV hybrid will retain its 19-inch widescreen and 300GB hard drive but will come preloaded with 2GB of memory for improved performance. All three refreshed VAIO models should ship by Spring.
Television specialists Vizio on Friday released the VM60P, the company's largest-ever plasma TV at 60 inches. Although capable only of a 720p native resolution, the new display accepts 1080p input and ships with four HDMI ports built-in -- an unprecedented figure that allows connecting several HD-ready devices at once without resorting to analog connections. The set also distinguishes itself through a unique, bronze-like bezel that the company hopes will draw attention away from the black and silver hues that dominate other sets. An ATSC digital TV tuner as well as component and RCA inputs are also expected.
As with yesterday's announcement of the 47-inch GV47L LCD, Vizio says it will challenge other manufacturers in part through pricing: the 60-inch plasma is due to ship soon for $2,999. [via Crave]
American electronics maker Westinghouse today said that it will unveil what it says is the world's first 2160p LCD screen. Measuring 56 inches, the widescreen panel will display an unprecedented 3840x2160 resolution, commonly referred to as 2K. The increased depth -- dubbed Quad Full HD by the company -- offers four times the resolution of today's current 1080p maximum for HDTV. Other details of the LCD have not yet been released, though the enhanced resolution is likely to require a dual-link DVI or HDMI connector.
Also planned for the debut of CES are a series of basic 19- to 42- inch LCD televisions, 1080p-capable sets between 42 and 52 inches, a 24-inch computer LCD and a slew of digital picture frames. [via Gadgetell]
In advance of CES, LG has announced its 2007 range of HDTVs, in both plasma and LCD varieties. There will be three new lines of plasma sets, including the PC5D (42 and 50 inches), PB4D (42, 50 and 60 inches), and PY3D (50 and 60 inches). Remaining in production is the PY1M (see photo), which consists of a single, 71-inch 1080p display. The PB4D sets will have built-in digital video recorders, and like the PY1M, the PY3D screens will have full 1080p resolution. The PY3D will also boast three HDMI inputs and the USB Media Host function for streaming photos and music. LG is not sharing prices for any of the plasmas except the PY1M, which has been discounted by 80 percent to sell at $15,000.
There will be five lines of LCDs this year: the LS7D (20 and 23 inches), LC7 (26 to 47 inches), LB4D (32 to 47 inches), LB5D (37 to 52 inches), and the LY3D (47, 52 and 57 inches). The latter two will all have 1080p, and the LB4D and LY3D series will feature USB Media Hosting. The LB4D and LB5D models have three HDMI inputs, and the LS7D displays will have built-in tuners for ATSC, NTSC and QAM signals. No prices have been published for any of the LCD products.
A second revision of the Xbox 360 will see a major upgrade to the console's media features, according to a photo obtained by Engadget. The update, codenamed "Zephyr," should bring the crucial addition of an HDMI output, a connector necessary to ensure that later copy-protected HD DVD movies can display at their full resolution on newer HDTV sets. The system will also see its first increase in storage, according to the report: the new model will ship with a 120GB hard drive, there in part to provide additional storage for Microsoft's recently opened Xbox Live movie store. This extra capacity may be optional, the site notes.
While no release date has been given as part of the leak, Microsoft has already confirmed that it will ship refreshed Xbox 360s in mid-2007 using a cooler, 65-nanometer version of the three-core CPU at the heart of the system. Sources suggest that all three improvements may be scheduled to appear simultaneously.
Three new SD cards are in the works from Toshiba, one among them being the fastest of its type, the company claims. Its forthcoming 4GB miniSDHC card will be the first at the Class 4 level, having a sustained write speed of 4MB/s. The miniSD format is used primarily in devices like PDAs and cellphones. Toshiba is also working on a 4GB, general SDHC card, which will have a minimum sustained speed of 6MB/s, and a peak performance of 20MB/s. Rounding out the new lineup is a microSD card, filling in the 2GB gap in Toshiba's offerings. The SDHC and miniSDHC cards will be out in March of 2007, with the microSD product following in April.
Hitachi today introduced the Deskstar 7K1000, the first 1TB hard drive ever to reach the desktop. The 3.5-inch, 7200RPM drive, originally slated for 2006, uses the company's own perpendicular magnetic recording technology to store five platters of 200GB each, setting a new record for density. The added size does not detract from performance, Hitachi says. The 7K1000 is one of the only drives to sport 32MB of cache (versus the industry-standard 16MB) on serial ATA models and has a quick 8.5ms average seek time. Shipments will start in the first quarter of the year at a price of $399 each. A version optimized for media streaming and quiet operation, the CinemaStar 7K1000, is due in the second quarter.
Slovakian site MobilMania claims to have acquired photos of the Nokia E65, an upcoming mobile aimed at business users. It appears to be a slider phone, 0.5 inches thick, with buttons suggesting possible VoIP functions. Specifications indicate that it's a GSM quadband unit, with further support for EDGE broadband and 2,100MHz WCDMA. Local connectivity is made possible through Bluetooth, infrared, 802.11b/g and a POP port, which can accept USB 2.0 signals only through a Nokia connector. The camera is a two-megapixel model, and the screen sports an impressive 16 million colors at 352x416. Files are stored on 52MB of internal memory or a removable microSD card. Initial reports peg the phone for the second half of 2007, selling at a price of €340 ($445). Click through to see larger photos.
Compounding on plasma announcements earlier in the week (pictured), Microtek has just introduced two new 42-inch LCDs, the CL42HA and the L42CX2A. Unlike the plasma models, these sets have full 1080p support, with scaling options for resolutions down to 480i. Brightness for each is rated at 500cd/m2, with a contrast ratio of 1,200:1 and a viewing angle of 176 degrees. Each set also has HDMI, VGA, component, composite and S-video inputs, as well as ports for NTSC and ATSC (HD) antennas. The actual differences between the models are minimal, with the L42CX2A having factory calibration and a one-year warranty, and the CL42HA having a two-year warranty and "middle-ground" calibration for tweaking by home theater enthusiasts. The former should be on sale now for $1,900; the CL42HA is coming soon for $2,000.
The JumpDrive series of USB flash drives has been upgraded and expanded, says Lexar. New to the lineup is the JumpDrive 360, which the company describes as being "capless" -- that is, it uses a rotating metal jacket to eliminate the need for a cap on the USB port. The drive will come with Lexar's PowerToGo program for secure mobile computing, and the Secure II software, which now enables quick, 256-bit AES encryption (and decryption) using a drag-and-drop folder system. A "File Shredder" function wipes traces normally left behind when deleting files. Lexar has also upgraded its JumpDrive Firefly, doubling capacity from 4GB (pictured) to 8GB, and will be doing the same for the Secure II drive, not to be confused with its namesake application. The new Firefly and Secure II products should be ready in March; no date has been set for the 360.
New from Canon are six new camcorders: the Mini-DV ZR800, ZR830 and ZR850 models, and the DVR-R/RW based DC210, DC220 and DC230. Both lines offer a 16:9 ratio, 35x optical zoom, 1,000x digital zoom, and a Quick Start mode which puts a camera into a 30-minute standby mode, which takes less than a second to power on from. The DC220 and 230 (pictured) feature miniSD slots for transfer of stills, while the ZR830 and 850 read full-size SD cards, including High Capacity cards able to hold anywhere between 4GB and 32GB. Worth noting, however, is that the ZR cameras use Canon's older DIGIC DV processor, versus the DCs' modern DIGIC DV II. The ZRs will go on sale in January for $279, $299 and $329; the DCs are being released in March for $399, $449 and $499.
A new internal HD DVD drive for desktop computers has been announced by Toshiba, the standard's founder. The SD-H903A is a SATA drive that can read single- and dual-layer HD DVD discs, as well as most major rewritable formats, including DVD-R, DVD-R HD, DVD-RAM, CD-R and CD-RW. The drive can also burn all of the above formats with the notable exception of DVD-R HD, which is representative of most of the consumer HD DVD market. No pricing or distribution plans for the H903A have been revealed, but Toshiba has said that the first demonstration models will go out this month, and it will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.
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