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Just weeks after a crack for HD DVD discs was declared, the same fundamental principle has been applied to Blu-Ray's copy protection, says The Register. Also devised by the same hacker, "muslix64," the new crack is based on the same text attack method used for HD DVD, but did not even require a native drive to gain access to DRM information.
Both Blu-Ray and HD DVD use a scheme called the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) to prevent unauthorized copies; the cracks function by fetching a movie's unique DRM key, which is then used to fool AACS. Since a different key exists for every title, it's impossible to write a universal decryption tool, but muslix64 has written a key extractor to simplify the process. The software may ultimately prove of little value, however, as each of the current HD formats can have its protection upgraded in subsequent versions.
Korean cellphone maker Ever on Tuesday revealed its unique Ever 360 slider phone. The phone earns its namesake through its complete sensitivity to movement, according to the company. A built-in accelerometer recognizes any angle the phone might use, automatically rotating the picture for photos and videos to match their often wider aspect ratios. This helps for watching DMB mobile digital broadcasts, Ever says. The handset also uses this motion control for music playback and will skip tracks during MP3 playback simply through brief shaking. 2.1-channel stereo sound and a 1.3-megapixel camera complement the phone's existing media features. The phone debuts today with service provider KTF.
Updated versions of Motorola's distinctive KRZR clamshell and RIZR slider phones with faster wireless are due to be announced soon, according to telltale product images leaked in an investor document (PDF). Both the KRZR K3 (left) and RIZR Z8 (right) share the addition of a front-facing video camera, a frequent prerequisite for cameras using the faster Internet access provided by 3G wireless standards. The discovery did not point to a specific technology in use but is almost certainly set to involve HSDPA given the phones' existence on GSM networks.
The two 3G additions have not been given a release date but should see a public unveiling at next month's 3GSM expo in Barcelona. Availability in the US will depend on the addition of a quad-band GSM radio, which has not been confirmed. Click through for larger photos.
French electronics designer Airis today unveiled a slimmer but more feature-rich addition to its MP3 players. The N004x series uses a relatively thin, 0.53-inch shape and weighs the same 1.4 ounces as its primary challenger at Apple. While using a similar 1.5-inch LCD, the flash player adds SMV video playback in addition to an FM tuner with radio recording. Photos are viewable in JPEG and BMP formats and music can be read in either MP3 or WMA. Continuous playback of audio lasts for 10 hours on a full battery, Airis claims. The firm ships models soon with either 1GB (N0041) or 2GB (N0042) of flash memory at prices beginning at $90. A three-watt speaker dock is available for an additional $52. [via GenerationMP3]
Official press images for the upcoming HTC Vox have been leaked that reveal substantial changes to the design, according to the Boy Genius Report. Previously thought to have been running the current-generation Windows Mobile 5 operating system, the Vox is now set to ship with the Vista-influenced version 6, nicknamed "Crossbow," The future OS is said to greatly improve the appearance of the longstanding handheld OS and bring its features more closely in check with its desktop equivalent.
The official photography also confirms a new, more ergonomic design to the smartphone, placing the spacebar in a more natural location while also leaving room for a set of arrow keys to help with text navigation. A previously hinted-at 2-megapixel camera is also known to be part of the design. A final launch timeframe for the Vox was not provided with the photos, though a spring 2007 release in North America and Europe remains likely. Full-sized photos are available after the jump courtesy of BGR.
Microsoft is speeding up the release of its first major service pack for its as yet unreleased Vista operating system, according to an e-mail leaked to the press. The message indicates that the Redmond software developer is aiming for a "second half of CY07" launch for Service Pack 1, placing its initial launch as soon as July, only six months after Vista's official release. If completed on schedule, the patch would represent an exceptionally quick refresh to the OS, as the company normally provides such updates roughly a year or more later as convenient bundles of earlier, minor software fixes. Windows XP Service Pack 1 was released in September 2002, 11 months after the core OS was completed.
The increased pace is likely due to the increased number of serious flaws in Vista's initial launch, information within the e-mail reveals. Detailing a list of crucial fixes, the company points to "regressions" and other "high impact issues" in the software, directly referencing instances in which Vista offers reduced features compared to its XP predecessor. The leak appears to confirm earlier criticism that Microsoft is releasing Vista too soon and suggests that the company was willing to release Vista prematurely in order to meet its self-imposed January 30th launch window. [via Bink]
Intel on Tuesday revealed an upgrade to the Wi-Fi on its most recent laptop chipsets. Titled Next-Gen Wireless-N, the adapter is said to improve on earlier draft 802.11n chips by offering the same 5X speed of earlier hardware that supports the new standard while drastically cutting down on their battery use. Intel estimates an additional hour of battery life, according to its own tests. The semiconductor maker expects notebooks from Asus, Toshiba, and other manufacturers to use the chipset upgrade by the time Windows Vista reaches the market next week.
The move comes at the same time as the IEEE standards group is on the verge of approving the second draft of 802.11n, a report by Ars Technica says. Having recently voted in favor of approving the second standard, the organization already expects to approve the new version by late March, paving the way for future second-draft products. The update, known as Draft 2.0, is said to offer the same reduced power consumption as Intel's newer chipsets as well as backwards compatibility with initial draft hardware -- an important component for the earliest hardware that supports only half of the official 200Mbps speed, Ars Technica says.
Read through for the effect both technologies are likely to have had on Apple.
If you don't have any need of water-resistant loudspeakers, Bang & Olufsen has also debuted the BeoLab 9, a luxury indoor speaker that eschews current flat and columnar aesthetics for a shorter, wider design almost reminiscent of a fountain. The metaphor is appropriate, since while the bass and mid-range units are buried down below, the top section projects treble across a 180-degree arc, using B&O's Acoustic Lens technology. This helps the BeoLab 9 fit into existing surround-sound setups in either a front or rear capacity. It can also be used as a standard stereo speaker. Models are available with red, blue or gray fabric for $9,900.
Snow sports clothier Quiksilver and Plantronics today launched a set of jackets and helmets that pair wirelessly with most audio-capable Bluetooth devices. Using either a built-in Bluetooth transmitter or an adapter for players such as the iPod, the clothing lets owners control and listen to calls or music in stereo without having to first plug the source into a specific pocket.
The snowwear range is split equally along styles for men and women, according to Plantronics: the Double Daffy jacket and Pulse helmet (both shown) use subdued, camouflage tones for men, while the Roxy Teen Angel top and Roxy Shiver helmet will have more feminine colors for women. All four pieces of outerwear are set to reach stores as part of the 2007-2008 Quiksilver line later this year.
In Korea, LG will soon launch the FM37, one of the few dedicated media players with a touchscreen. The 37 uses a 2.4-inch display, and thanks to the touch technology, has no need for any front-mounted controls that could mar the aluminum surface. Inside is up to 4GB of flash memory, which can be used to play e-books, pre-recorded music or video, or live DMB broadcasts. Available battery power is substantial, lasting approximately 20 hours with audio or five with video. Exact pricing and release information is unknown -- but the preceding 2GB FM35 debuted last summer, and LG has yet to unveil a product page. [Via AVING]
Zen manufacturer Creative and Hasbro's Playskool division have announced a series of new toys designed to take advantage of digital music for the very youngest of listeners. Dubbed "Made for Me," the line will revolve around a removable music player that can fit in any one of several speaker and toy combinations friendly to babies and toddlers: a stand-up animal with an oversized play button (pictured) will be available in one of several colors, while a 2-in-1 Infant Gym will have both music and conventional playthings. A portable projector named the Day to Dream Soother will beam images to the ceiling while it plays, according to Playskool.
The core music player is expected to ship in the fall for $80 along with the rest of the initial Made for Me line. Playskool anticipates selling the Soother for $35 and the Infant Gym for $40, though pricing for the animal toy remains unavailable. [via TG Daily]
Japanese toy maker Takara is producing a pair of new, unofficial Transformers-themed audio products. Click through for pictures. Of these, the most significant is likely the Optimus Prime-like Convoy iPod dock, which features a transforming cab, and a detachable trailer which opens up to reveal speakers and the dock itself. The design should fit all "standard size" iPods, with the iPod Shuffle being specifically excluded. The other Takara product is the Soundwave MP3 player, modelled after the namesake cassette toy. The Takara version is decidedly more modern however, opening up to reveal a miniSD slot. The player runs on batteries, but will play music in both its cassette and robot forms. The Convoy is priced at $145 and comes in white, while Soundwave is $80 in white or $110 in blue, though pre-orders of the latter are already sold out. Both items should ship in July.
Brando today listed the Soap MP4 Player, a straightforward MP4 player inspired in no small part by the iPod. With a directional pad shaped like the signature click wheel, the black or white Soap also comes with earbuds recalling Apple's initial models. However, the Hong Kong-based exporter touts features seldom seen on Apple players in the class. The 2GB flash jukebox plays MPEG-4 video on its 1.8-inch OLED screen. An FM tuner and a voice recorder microphone are also integrated, Brando adds. Expectedly, music is supported in MP3, wAV, or WMA formats. Battery life is only rated in terms of recording, with up to 8 hours of continuous audio. Brando is already shipping the Soap abroad in both colors for $100.
Originally shown off at CES 2005, Australian outfit Torian has finally launched the InFusion, an MP3 player focused on its radio abilities. Aside from having an FM tuner, the InFusion is also ready to play thousands of Internet streams, so long as it has access to a local 802.11b hotspot. Up to 16 presets can be configured for easier browsing. If live listening isn't an option, the player can also be set to a time-shifted recording mode. Files are stored on SD/MMC cards sized up to 4GB. Supported playback formats include AAC, MP3, OGG, and RealAudio. It should be noted, however, that the InFusion has a relatively low battery life, playing eight hours of MP3s, or just five hours of Internet radio. The product is on sale now for $229. [Via Chip Chick]
TRENDnet this morning released its ClearLink VoIP USB Phone Adapter as a simple bridge for owners who want to use their analog phones with Skype. Attaching through USB, the adapter transforms any existing phone into a VoIP phone while leaving open the option of reverting back to traditional phone line service; a second RJ-11 jack and a switch quickly convert the phone between analog and VoIP modes when a local call is necessary. The device is completely powered through the USB bus, TRENDnet says. Pricing and availability have not been announced, though the company says its VoIP adapter should retail for less than a dedicated handset.
Monsoon built out its range of networked media hubs on Tuesday by announcing the Hava Gold HD. The newer HD-capable version that can automatically convert the output of most any video source, including 1080i and 720p widescreen signals from HD sources, to a portable format for a home network or the Internet. Any connected PCs serve as PVRs for streaming video with timeshifting and scheduled recording; Windows Media Center will even recognize the Hava Gold HD as a TV tuner card, Monsoon says. Though Internet viewers must watch through MPEG-4, any computers on the network can watch content at DVD-quality MPEG-2. Pass-through jacks also ensure that the Hava doesn't obstruct the remaining outputs on a cable box, TiVo, or other source. Monsoon ships the Gold HD edition now for $130, and says it has dropped the price to $100 until the end of January.
Pentax early today launched a pair of new compact point-and-shoots, targeted alternately at entry and mid-range users, both containing 7.1-megapixel sensors, 3X optical zoom lenses, and SDHC support for cards larger than 2GB. At the top of the line is the Optio T30. One of the thinnest cameras with a 3-inch LCD, its screen is also touch-sensitive and serves as the chief control of the camera's settings; it can also be used to edit or add notes to photos. Face recognition auto-focus and auto-exposure help generate better portraits, the company says. The T30 stores 20MB of internal memory and should sell for $350 when it arrives in March.
While using a smaller 2.5-inch LCD without touchscreen functions, the Optio M30 (shown) is slimmer still at 0.7 inches thick and retains virtually all the control and image quality of its more elaborate sibling. Pentax also plans to deliver the M30 in March, when it should retail for $200.
Photos of both models are available after the jump.
Toshiba this morning prepared its Satellite line for next week's release of Windows Vista, including a new model that the system builder claims is one of most inexpensive dual-drive notebooks available. The pictured Satellite A135 ships with up to two hard disks despite its smaller and lower-cost 15.4-inch widescreen display -- creating a total of 240GB of storage in the flagship S4499 model, Toshiba says. Every model also ships with a 5-in-1 card reader and a dual-layer DVD rewriter. Prices for models shipped directly from Toshiba start at $900, which nets an S4427 model with a 1.73GHz Core Duo, 1GB of RAM, and 120GB of storage; the dual-disk S4499 raises the features to a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, and Vista Ultimate for $1,500. The A135 line as a whole will ship February 20th.
The computer designer also released a pair of new models each for two of its existing lines. The 17-inch, desktop replacement-sized P105 can use its USB TV tuner with Vista Home Premium; both its new S6207 and S6217 variants ship with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB RAM, with the base S6207 sporting a 160GB drive and the S6217 using a larger but slower 200GB disk. In contrast, the 12-inch U205 is split into two models based on memory, with the lower-end S5057 running a 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM and its S5067 counterpart doubling the RAM to 2GB. Toshiba says it will have the updated P105 models ready in time for Vista's launch on January 30 at prices of $1,600 and $1,650 respectively; the U205 is due to ship a week later at $1,300 for the S5057 and $1,600 for the premium S5067 edition.
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