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i-Station creators Logic3 today announced the i-Station Traveller, its most portable speaker system yet for digital audio players. The four-watt stereo accepts input from the headphone jack of most jukeboxes, including iPods and music phones. The company says the Traveller can be powered completely by four AAA batteries and yet weighs only 5.5 ounces. Battery life is currently unrated. Intended to match virtually any device, the Logic3 speakers ship in six colors ranging from conservative black and silver to bright green and orange. All versions are planned for a late January release in Britain at a price of £20 ($39). A US release is likely but has not been announced. [via Tech Digest]
Corsair on Wednesday announced more capacious versions of its Flash Readout USB 2 drive. The storage producer says its drive now comes in 4GB and 8GB models, quadrupling the previous 2GB limit. Speed is unaffected by the extra storage and still achieves sustained 20MB reads and 7MB writes per second. The Readout drive is unique for its incorporation of a Bi-stable Cholesteric Display (BCD) that displays available space and a personalized name for the drive without requiring power; the information lasts for up to a year without any power, Corsair says. The drive plugs into any recent Linux, Mac, or Windows system. 4GB and 8GB models ship today for $90 and $170 respectively.
Sports gear manufacturer Nike will soon release a watch that could eliminate the need for the Nike+iPod kit. Appearing only briefly on the European Nike website before being removed, the Nike Speed+ watch includes its own flash memory and wireless receiver and links with the Nike+ sensor. After a run, the watch connects to a computer through USB to upload distance and speed information to the Nikeplus.com website. An onboard LCD also tracks information useful to live runners such as the estimated calorie burn and pacing, the description said. No launch information accompanied the leak.
The inadvertent announcement suggests that Nike is approaching its Nike+ initative as a multi-level strategy of which the iPod is only a part. The sporting company recently announced its C.O.R.E. iPod backpack that offers music control through the strap. News of the still unreleased Amp+ bracelet for iPod users also surfaced late in 2006 and pointed to Nike's expansion beyond tracking equipment alone. [via Podophile]
Research In Motion's BlackBerry 8800 is set to debut in the US with AT&T (previously named Cingular), according to the Boy Genius Report. Citing anonymous sources, the typically reliable site claims that the full-sized smartphone will be available through the US carrier as of mid-February, and should serve as the reference design which other providers will use. The 8800 will also have a shorter keyboard layout than the current 8700 series that will ease typing, TBG says, and is still expected to drop the camera of the Pearl to appeal to business users. No pricing has been leaked, though pricing will likely compare closely to the 8700 upon its original launch.
Revealed at the same time is news that AT&T will also carry the 9000 series, a major revision to the BlackBerry which will add a completely revised user interface. HSDPA Internet access and the ability to completely backup a phone's information to a microSD card are also expected. The forthcoming 8800 replacement is not due until late 2007.
KDDI's au division has just launched its spring 2007 phones, appealing primarily to Japanese mobile TV viewers. Among the releases is the Sharp W51SH (shown), one of the first phones from Sharp to bear the company's Aquos name. The clamshell design reflects its HDTV inspiration, Sharp says, and contains a swiveling 3-inch widescreen LCD for watching video; it both tunes Japan's 1Seg digital TV broadcasts and can serve as a PVR, recording scheduled shows to microSD cards.
Rival carrier NTT DoCoMo also released its own set of phones to mark the new year. The SO903iTV enhances Sony-Ericsson's earlier Bravia phone with enhanced TV playback. While it too shares a 3-inch widescreen with the Sharp model and schedules TV recording to microSD storage, but is said to have more advanced timeshifting. It automatically buffers live TV whether recording takes place or not and lets owners pause or rewind while they watch. It can further play pre-recorded TV back at up to 1.3X speeds, Sony-Ericsson adds. The SO903iTV and its Sharp challenger should be available soon in their home country but are unlikely to reach North America without a change to the continent's MediaFLO format. A photo of the SO903iTV is available after the jump.
TrekStor today unveiled an extremely limited special edition music player dubbed the i.Beat organix Gold. Called the world's expensive MP3 player by its German creator, the Gold version's shell is built from 18-karat gold plating and has its OLED screen surrounded by 63 one-karat diamonds. Even the chain includes aquamarine gems, TrekStor says, and the entire assembly requires 100 hours of hand assembly by the Mannheim-based jeweler Wenthe. The player stores as much as 2GB of music in MP3, OGG, or WMA formats and takes advantage of extras such as FM radio and line-in or voice recording.
The unique i.Beat organix was originally custom-ordered by the Midland F1 team owner Alex Shnaider, says TrekStor, but is now built on request by the company for international customers. The player is available to North American buyers through Amazon, which retails the device for $20,000. [via Uncrate]
Apple is planning a special announcement for the Super Bowl that may herald a major music agreement, according to a source speaking to the Toronto Sun. Potentially corroborating the unconfirmed report of an impending Beatles launch on Valentine's Day, the source claims that Apple will use the February 4th football event to air an ad announcing the availability of at least some of The Beatles' remastered catalog on iTunes just ten days later. CD versions of the albums are only likely to be available by June, the newspaper says.
The move would be uncharacteristic for Apple, which has generally refrained from producing its own Super Bowl ads since the failure of the "Lemmings" ad in 1985. The company allowed a slight exception as part of its 100 million-song giveaway promotion with Pepsi in 2004, though the ads were produced by the soft drink maker with only minimal involvement from Apple itself.
Sony on Wednesday upgraded its Cyber-shot point-and-shoot cameras with four new models, all of which revolve around 7.2-megapixel sensors that capture sharper images than the 6-megapixel models of the company's current line. The W35 (pictured) and W55 are powered by lithium-ion batteries that deliver roughly 380 shots per charge, which helps keep the cameras running and also produces a slimmer shape. These models also have Clear RAW, a noise reduction filter that cleans the image at higher ISO settings. The two W-series models are separated primarily by screen and style, Sony says: the W35 uses a 2-inch LCD and ships only in silver, while the uprated W55 will be available with a 2.5-inch LCD as well as optional black, blue, and pink metal shells. Both Cyber-shot W cameras are due for release in February at prices of $180 (W35) and $200 (W55).
Opposite these models are the S650 and S700, slightly thicker models that use AA batteries to save cost and provide an easier way to power the camera when away from a wall outlet. The S650 begins the line with a 2-inch screen, which expands to 2.4 inches on the S700. Sony anticipates shipping the S650 at the same time as the W models for $150. The S700 will be ready later in March for $180. Photos of the W55 and S650/S700 are available after the jump.
Initially promised for February, the LG Super Multi Blue HD Player (BH100) is already on shelves in Texas, says a poster at AVS Forum. The drive was noticed at a CompUSA store, where he also took photos of it being demonstrated. Click through to see more. The news is surprising in part because the 100 was only formally announced at CES last week, leaving little time for LG to develop publicity. The product is expected to be officially launched early next month, selling at Best Buy and Circuit City stores for a price of $1,200. [Via Crave]
Apple plans to open up the FairPlay DRM standard used on the iTunes Store, according to claims. Sources tell Tech.co.uk that Apple will make two announcements this week: first that protected AAC files will be streamable via USB, and second that third-party "Made for iPod" manufacturers will have the option of licensing Fairplay for their own use. The result should be more hardware with expanded functionality, such as digital output obtained directly from iTunes, as well as built-in displays of previously protected track information, such as album artwork. Tech speculates that the move could be intended to keep Made for iPod companies onboard, with the appeal of less restrctive players like the Microsoft Zune becoming stronger.
Preparing its existing PC models for Windows Vista, Sony on Wednesday revamped two of its most exotic PC lines in Japan. The most conspicuous changes are to the VAIO L series, the company's iconic all-in-one system. Newly added are four new 15.4-inch widescreen models tinted with green, pink, silver, and white. As with the earlier 19-inch version, the smaller models fold up to transform into a clock radio with music controlled by a wireless remote. Each of the new versions is equipped with a 1.73GHz Celeron M, 100GB hard disc, and DVD-RW drive. The 15.4-inch L model ships later this month for $1,325.
The larger 19-inch edition has received its own refresh and now becomes Sony's premium PC/TV hybrid. Customized through Sony's website, the range-topping silver model is equipped with a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, Blu-Ray drive, GeForce Go 7600 video, and 300GB of storage. Prices start at $1,450 but increase to $3,315 for the ultimate model, Sony says.
More upgrades follow after the jump.
Normal computer cases tend to occupy a great deal of space even when they're hollow, and to that end AOpen has designed the F501. The unit ships flat, but panels pull out to form the metal frame of a mid-tower ATX case, and the black exterior is snapped on in seconds. To retain space, the power supply and 4.7-inch fan are optional. Bays in the system hold up to two external and five internal 3.5-inch drives, as well as four external 5.25-inch drives. The front of the case has two USB ports plus mic and headphone inputs. AOpen has yet to say whether they'll offer the 501 in North America, but the case is partly designed with shipping in mind -- AOpen reasons that while a standard 40-foot container might hold 1,000 to 1,200 ordinary mid-towers, up to 2,560 501s could fit in the same space. In theory, this could greatly decrease the cost of the product.
Transcend has just launched its newest audio player, the flash-based T.sonic 630. Immediately grabbing to some may be the OLED display, which features a white-on-black motif similar to products like the LG/Prada phone collaboration. This in turn contributes to the life of the 630's lithium-ion battery, which is measured at 15 hours. The 630 handles MP3, WAV and WMA/DRM files, but can also record FM, voice and line-in signals. The player comes in 1, 2, and 4GB capacities, colored orchid, white and black, in that order. Prices were unavailable at press time.
Samsung's recently unveiled Ultra Music phone is all but certain to arrive at Sprint, according to a recently completed FCC filing. The approvals show the clear dual-sided outline of the Korean-made music phone, which features a large display on one face for audio playback and a smaller display on the reverse for phone-only tasks. The documents also reveal its eventual provider, Sprint. Named only the F300 in its native Korea, the Ultra Music in the FCC filing is named the SPH-M620, a title only applicable to the American cell provider Sprint. The carrier launched its SPH-M610 phone late last year.
Also confirmed in the submission are the phone's support for Bluetooth, which requires the 2.4GHz frequency listed in the filing, and a dual-band CDMA radio that works with both 850MHz and 1900MHz cell towers. The Ultra Music is also known to contain a 2-megapixel camera, 100MB of internal flash memory, and an FM radio. No official launch information has been leaked, though full details of the FCC filing will be ready in March, suggesting a mid-spring launch. A photo from the application betryaing the Ultra Music's outline is available after the jump. [via Phone Scoop]
Klegg this morning unveiled a trio of media playback devices under its Genesis name, including its showcase Internet-enabled TVs. The 40- and 46-inch editions of the set each have an embedded version of Windows XP. The built-in OS lets owners browse the web or check e-mail while connected to a network; the TV will also access media from a host PC. Each TV is equipped for HD video through dual component inputs as well as HDMI and DVI. An ATSC tuner is also part of the system for both analog and digital broadcasts. The Genesis TVs ship soon for $2,899 (40-inch) and $3,599 (46-inch).
Accompanying the HDTVs are the V12 GPS, a hybrid mapping unit and MP3/MP4 music and video player, as well as the Enterastream Vista range of home theater PCs. The latter is a heavily customizable receiver-like system with TV-focused connections such as HDMI and optical audio out; while equipped with as little as a 3GHz Pentium 4, a DVD drive, and a single analog TV tuner, the Klegg-made PC can be equipped with as much as a 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo, a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive, and as many as four analog or digital tuners for recording and playing muiltiple shows at once. A recommended system with Blu-Ray ships for $2,999.
Cellphone giant Samsung today revealed the W559, the first handset to combine a touchscreen with tactile cues. Based on a system made by Immersion, the W559 gives different vibration cues as its owner presses onscreen buttons, customizable with up to five different profiles. The feedback makes touching these controls feel more like physical buttons, Immersion says, and also has the side benefit of confirming actions when a portion of the display is obscured by fingers or lights.
Equally important to the phone's design is its hybrid network support. As the W559 works on both CDMA and GSM networks, it roams across most international cellphone providers. A 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and handwriting recognition complete the handset's main features. Samsung says it now offers the phone primarily through China Unicom, whose subscribers regularly need touchscreens for Cantonese and Mandarin text messaging. Other carriers may follow but have not been announced today.
Panasonic this morning accompanied its fellow Japanese computer makers in updating its computers to match the needs of Windows Vista. Leading the announcements is the company's mid-size Y5 (pictured), a 14-inch, 1400x1050 notebook that balances directly between battery life and performance. The new model uses a low-voltage 1.83GHz Core Duo that offers better power than ULV models but still obtains a full 8.5 hours of battery life, the company claims. An added element of durability also protects the Y5 against keyboard spills, one-foot direct drops, and 220 pounds of sustained pressure.
Also announced were upgrades to the 12-inch W5 and T5 ultraportables, both of which now use a 1.06GHz ultra-low voltage Core Duo; the W5 with its built-in DVD-RW drive nets 10.5 hours of battery life, while the thinner T5 runs for 14 hours on standard battery and 6 with a special lightweight battery that reduces the system's weight to 2.3 pounds. A last update is the R6, Panasonic's smallest system with a 10.4-inch screen. The diminutive PC shares the same CPU as its W5 and T5 counterparts and manages 8 hours' use in spite of its smaller size, Panasonic says.
All four models now share a 60GB hard drive, an SDHC card slot, Windows Vista Business, and Panasonic's characteristic circular trackpad that allows iPod-like touch scrolling at the edges. Pricing is not listed, but the new systems should all be available when Vista ships on January 30th.
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