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The iPhone continues to create a ripple effect among cellphone producers and journalists, according to separate reports by MSNBC and Reuters. Speaking originally to a local business paper, Nokia multimedia unit leader Anssi Vanjoki largely dismissed the Apple-made device, labeling it "quite an interesting product" but quickly playing down suggestions that it might upset the Finnish cellphone maker's core business. He points to his company's existing strong points, alluding to the large screens, storage, and media playback functions of Nokia's higher-end cellphones.
"This is another piece of evidence that we have been on the right track from the beginning," Vanjoki said.
More reaction follows after the jump.
Pantech today unveiled its IM-U170 clamshell media phone. Evoking both the design influences of the iPod and RAZR, the U170 is clothed in a white outer shell but has a brushed-metal inside that includes an exotic touch-sensitive keypad in place of traditional buttons. 3G wireless is essential to the design, says Pantech: support for HSDPA, EVDO, and Korea's native WiBro speed the handset's Internet access and make use of the phone's forward-facing VGA camera for video conferencing and self-portraits. The phone also toggles quickly between MP3 playback and calling duties through a rocker switch. The U170 is available today through the Korean carrier SKY. Click through for a large image of the phone courtesy of Akihabara News.
Earphone specialist Shure at the CES expo demonstrated its new SE line of in-canal earbuds, touting improved frequency ranges and more comfortable designs while dropping prices. Beginning the series is the SE210 ($150), a standard set with a single driver per ear; the similar SE310 uses an enhanced driver with better bass response for listeners who prefer beat-heavy electronic or urban music without sacrificing treble. The SE420 ($350) enhances audio quality even further, Shure claims. Separate tweeter and woofer drivers are built into each earpiece to better distinguish high- and low-frequency sounds. A premium eartip kit also ships with the SE420 to ensure a perfect fit, Shure says.
The company has also renamed its E500 series the SE530, describing it as the culmination of the technology found the rest of the SE line. It keeps the three-driver earbuds of before and is sold with ($500) or without ($450) Shure's Push-to-Hear adapter, which switches sound from the normal audio source to a microphone that relays conversations or other outside sounds to the wearer. All four SE designs are targeted for a February launch.
Taiwanese electronics firm MSI said at CES that it will soon release a high-capacity version of its P640 media jukebox. Where previous versions of the player have used microdrives to achieve larger capacities, the upcoming version is expected to carry as much as 16GB of flash storage, doubling the 8GB limit found on most challengers. MSI adds that the player has room for existing features such as a 1.8-inch LCD, an FM radio, and recording for line-in and microphone sources. No official pricing or release date has been given, though the company said a 12GB version would also be available at launch. [via The Inquirer]
Microsoft is worried that unwanted software bundles could affect the success of Windows Vista, a senior Microsoft executive has told CBC News. Choosing to remain anonymous, the official says that many of the pre-installed third-party programs included with new Windows PCs -- nicknamed "craplets" by the official for their small and often irritating nature -- may be incompatible with Vista and could create unintentional ill will towards Microsoft through bugs or even a complete failure to run.
"If someone buys a Vista PC and has a problem, they're going to blame Windows," he said.
While the executive said Microsoft would like to control the initial experience with its own operating system, the company claims to be hampered by legal restrictions that prevent it from dictating the software third-party system builders can load on new PCs. Many Windows system vendors choose to pre-install third-party freeware or trial versions in exchange for pay, reducing the overall price of the system. Michael Dell, CEO of the namesake company, recently said to Ars Technica that the selling price of new PCs would increase by as much as $60 without such deals.
OQO has begun shipping the model 02, its newest entry into the UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) genre. The company claims it has the world's smallest Vista-capable computer, measuring 5.6 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, and one inch thick (when closed). Until Vista is relased however, buyers will have to pick from three versions of Windows XP for the operating system, including Home, Professional, or Tablet PC Edition 2005. The 02 is driven by a 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 60GB of hard drive space. Three different wireless technologies are supported, including Bluetooth, Sprint EVDO, and 802.11a/b/g. An optional dock allows users to connect directly to the implements of a full-sized computer, such a monitor, mouse, and Ethernet cable. A base-level model 02 costs $1,499.
Sanyo at CES updated its signature Xacti camcorder with the launch of the Xacti HD2. Still the smallest and lightest HD camera, according to its creator, the HD2 gains a much sharper 7.1-megapixel sensor that can rapidly capture still photos at its native resolution as well as record widescreen 720p video in MPEG-4 format. The sensor is also tuned for better light sensitivity and is 76% more receptive than its HD1 ancestor. Further modernizing the Xacti is support for higher-capacity SDHC cards. At 21 minutes per gigabyte, an 8GB card can capture almost three hours of 720p footage, Sanyo says. HDMI has also been added to the docking station and will relay both audio and video to a TV through a single cable. Built-in image stabilization and editing tools help correct images as well. Sanyo promises the HD2 in March for $700.
iRobot at CES devoted itself to hobbyists by releasing the iRobot Create, a variant of the company's Roomba cleaning robot that strips the vacuuming abilities of the original in exchange for easily customization by hobbyists or students. A 25-pin port at the center of the Create lets designers program the robot by transferring commands as simple as scripts or as complex as C and C++ code; in tandem with the optional Command Module (pictured in green), the latter technique can actually be used to create fully autonomous behavior, the company says. The 25-pin port and the Command Module's serial ports are also used to attach peripherals such as cameras or limbs for use in more advance programs. An empty storage bay will also hold batteries or other objects that cannot be mounted. iRobot's Create ships today for $130, while the Command Module is available for $60.
It may not make much sense to buy several complete speaker systems for your home, and to that end there's the Panasonic SC-PTX7, being demonstrated at CES. At the core is the control unit, which houses an 80GB hard drive, to which you rip music from a CD/DVD combo drive. Owners can of course play music discs without copying them, and XM radio is supported as well. Local is sound is produced by two satellites and a subwoofer, operating in Dolby Virtual Surround; users can also buy separate self-contained systems, however, which connect to the PTX7 wirelessly from elsewhere in your home. The remote units have their own amplifiers and can select which audio source to use, whether it be XM, CD, or the hard drive. The release date of the PTX7 has yet to be announced, but it should sell for $799. [Via SCI FI Tech]
XM Radio has decided to upgrade its Commander in-car faceplate with the CommanderMT, now showing at CES. Whereas the previous Commander had the tuner hardwired inside, the MT replaces it with an XM Mini-Tuner, which can be taken out of the dash and used in any XM Ready audio system, such home stereos or other vehicles. Notably, though, the MT may still require a professional installation due to changes to the FM modulator, mandated by the FCC. Both Commanders add XM support to any car's pre-existing FM radio system. [Via Orbitcast]
Storage developer Seagate at CES revealed a completely new range of external hard drives, dubbed FreeAgent, that it hopes will garner attention for style and usefulness alike. At the summit of the range is the FreeAgent Pro (pictured), a desktop drive intended for serious users who need to back up their entire document folders or synchronize frequently with online accounts. Each stores 320GB, 500GB, or 750GB internally and including Memeo backup software that can automatically upload stored photos to a Shutterfly account or to a Seagate Internet Drive, a paid online backup service that stores 500MB or more of a subscriber's most important files. Dual FireWire 400 interfaces as well as USB 2.0 and external SATA ports are built-in. The FreeAgent line will be available in February; Pro models will ship for prices between $200 (320GB) and $420 (750GB).
For less demanding backups, Seagate says it also offers the Desktop, a USB 2.0 drive storing between 250GB ($150) and 500GB ($250); the Go, a notebook-class drive that automatically syncs bookmarks, IM contact lists, and other information for Windows users in storage ranging between 80GB ($130) and 160GB ($190); and the Go Small, a 12GB microdrive with a retractable USB connector and the same features as its larger Go counterparts for a price of $140. A gallery of each drive line is available after the jump.
Another upcoming offering from Alienware is the m9750, a 17-inch gaming laptop that manages to fit in two videocards. The cards are a pair of Nvidia Go 7950 GTXs, which have 512MB of RAM apiece. The duality theme continues through the computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and twin hard drives that together hold up to 400GB. The machine also has a TV tuner, a full-sized numeric keypad, and a Blu-Ray drive for HD movie playback. The m9750 is only on display at the Consumer Electronics Show at the moment, but should be shipping to North America and Europe within the next few months. [Via Pocket-lint]
GPS units with Internet connections are nothing new, but the Dash Express is one of the first to have "two-way" Internet -- meaning files and data can be sent to the Express with or without a driver's request. The routing software, for instance, not only uses historical data to avoid traffic, but also the positions of other Dash-equipped cars. Owners can also have third parties send them an address via the web or Microsoft Outlook, and when it comes time to expand the Express' database, new maps are downloaded automatically. Users can search their area with Yahoo! Local to locate nearby points of interest. The Express is presently on display at CES, but my already be available in select regions of the United States. Check for availability.
Twinhead announced at CES that its DuraBook line of toughened notebooks would receive an upgrade to Intel's more recent dual-core processors. Originally introduced in 2006 with mobile Celeron and Pentium processors, the latest DuraBooks now have the option of Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processors and receive upgrades to storage and wireless: both the 13.3-inch widescreen D13RY and 14-inch standard-aspect D14RY ship in base trim with a 1.66GHz Core Duo, 60GB hard drives, and added support for 802.11a Wi-Fi to complement existing b/g options. Both systems retain the military-grade magnesium case design, which the company says is 20 times stronger than standard plastic. Pricing is unavailable, though Twinhead promises to ship both DuraBooks soon.
Canadian cellular provider Rogers said today that it intends to carry the Apple's newly unveiled iPhone, according to company officials speaking with web developer John Wiseman. Although no specific release information was provided for the Apple handset during Steve Jobs' MacWorld San Francisco keynote beyond the June release for Cingular subscribers in the US, the Canadian firm says it is already in the early planning stages to bring the device to its service, which is the largest GSM-based network in Canada.
The phone will be available with either two- or three- year contracts -- potentially lowering the initial cost for long-term users versus the American two-year requirement -- but must also be linked to a data plan for the carrier's EDGE network. Rogers has not provided an official timeframe for the release of the iPhone in Canada. However, the company has historically offered smartphones to Canadians between six to eight months after the devices' release in the US, Wiseman says, placing an introduction roughly between late 2007 and early 2008. Versions for other major carriers such as Bell and Telus are unlikely in the foreseeable future given the lack of a CDMA equivalent, the web developer adds.
Audio accessory maker harman/kardon at CES introduced a pair of devices made for travelers. The Drive + Play II (pictured) represents a major upgrade to the earlier in-car music control adapter and universalizes the once iPod-only mounting kit to include direct menu navigation for other media players, including Microsoft's Zune and most jukeboxes known to work with PlaysForSure music stores. Its 3.5-inch screen now displays full color instead of the earlier monochrome and features Harman Net, an expansion port system that optionally integrates the Bluetooth hands-free calling and Sirius satellite radio. Software for the Drive + Play has also been revitalized to streamline listening during long trips: an owner can search a category with the wireless control knob, shift the emphasis of random playback towards diversity or similarity, or let the unit create dynamic channels that automatically include relevant songs. The company ships its second-edition car kit in March at a price of $400.
Click through for a photo as well as news of harman/kardon's first GPS unit.
Alienware this morning said it was one of the very first companies to introduce a system using Intel's new, more mainstream quad-core CPU. The Area-51 7500 is the first of the gaming PC builder's models to use the Core 2 Quad, a detuned version of the previously launched quad-core Xeon and Core 2 Extreme. The company says it will use the 2.4GHz Q6600 version of the chip to balance the difference between performance and cost. Other components of the system are similar to its previous update and include the option of as much as 4GB of RAM, dual GeForce 8800 GTX video cards, and a Blu-Ray drive. Alienware has not announced the upgrade price as of this posting but should set it $150-200 lower than the $3,219 price of the system when configured with the Core 2 Extreme four-core processor.
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