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Chinese company Vavolo claims to have a product which goes beyond other multifunction mice, offering not just two or three functions, but four. Despite its name, the PCPAL 3-in-1 can be used as a mouse, a keypad, a laser pointer and a remote control, the latter two functions being intended for digital slide (e.g. PowerPoint) presentations on Mac, PC and Linux machines. Controls include Start, Stop, Escape, Page Up/Down and more. The mouse slides into a PC Card slot when not in use. Mac and Linux requirements for the PCPAL haven't been specified, but Windows computers must be running 98SE or later. The product is on sale at the moment for $40.
Hoping to capture early adopters looking to try Microsoft's upcoming OS, Dell today announced that it would begin selling Vista-based systems as of this weekend, days ahead of the new Windows version's launch. The system builder said today that all of its desktop and notebook systems, while remaining the same as for their recent updates, would support running a minimum of Vista Home Basic. Most of the company's higher-end systems (such as the pictured XPS M1210) would also run Vista Home Premium or better versions without any changes, the company said.
Crucially, however, the company warned that much of its product line would require upgrades to use the media-centric version of its OS. The majority of Dimension, Inspiron, and Latitude computers all require upgrades to 1GB of memory and in some cases need a graphics card, Dell said. The computer company also suggested that ideal systems would require 2GB or more of memory as well as a 256MB dedicated video chipset and a dual-core processor.
While not unusual for computer makers in advance of the Vista launch, the Dell lineup reflects recent concerns by executives and professionals over rising prices for Windows systems as the disparity between levels of OS featues and hardware widens.
The version of Microsoft's Media Center software included with Vista has slim chances of conquering the living room during its lifespan, technology professionals said in a new survey published by financial news outlet SeekingAlpha. Responding to questions about Vista's chances of success as the underpinnings for a media hub, only 40 percent of the experts believed that its TV-oriented platform was good enough to wield a major influence in the home theater arena. A full 46 percent of that same audience saw either Media Center's interface or technical limits as enough to prevent it from ever gaining a foothold.
The apparent failure to win expert approval may be a sign of a timid response to media hubs and home theater PCs in general, SeekingAlpha's Paul Carton observed. Only 11 percent of all professionals in the survey expected the concept to explode in popularity in 2007, and 13 percent declined making any sort of prediction. This may cloud additional results that showed the Apple TV as front-runner, Carton noted, as the Cupertino-made hub may command what amounts to a niche market for the next one to two years.
Japan's Princeton has just unveiled a new 22-inch LCD, the PTFSAF-22W, as one of its first Vista-ready computer displays. The screen is rare for its size in its use of chin-mounted speakers: two one-watt satellites at the bottom of the bezel deliver stereo sound for the space-conscious. Also unique is the contrast ratio: the firm claims a 1,000:1 contrast level, potentially rendering the display more vivid than the 800:1 models that currently dominate the market.
Response time is measured at the quick 5ms of newer 22-inch screens and is ideal for movies or games, Princeton said. The display is likewise flexible for input and has a DVI-D connector for newer computers as well as a fallback VGA connector for analog video. Models are set to arrive at the end of this month to match Vista's release and should sell for $438 in its native country. North American releases are possible but have not been announced.
V-Gear has just begun offering the Auto Focus Webcam. Designed for intelligence, its sensor automatically recognizes the subject in front of the camera and follows, dynamically tuning the focus and zoom to keep the target both centered and in clear view. The camera additionally ships with software that can be used to actively monitor either recognizable subjects, such as children and pets, or any motion in a given area for the sake of security.
The 1.3-megapixel CCD allows for full-speed videos at 640x480 as well as 15 frames per second videos and still photos at 1280x960; similarly flexible is the multi-purpose clip, which fastens the webcam to notebooks and LCDs but also serves as a desktop stand. V-Gear's camera exports from Britain today for $82. [via Tech Digest]
HP this afternoon launched a pair of thin-client PCs for businesses, schools, and others that need only basics for their computers. The Compaq-branded t5135 and t5530 are scarcely larger than a paperback and contain no fans, HP said, making them small and quiet enough to hide behind a flat-panel screen or otherwise out of sight. Being thin clients, the devices only need enough memory and performance to reach the network and have no writable storage of their own: just enough flash memory is onboard to hold the OS, which saves all its settings on a central server.
The two models share the common platform of 128MB of RAM, 64MB of flash memory for the OS, and a Via Eden processor, with models split by performance and OS: the base t5135 uses a 400MHz CPU and Debian Linux, while the faster t5530 doubles the clock speed to 800MHz and runs Windows CE, giving it enough strength and support for media players and other more demanding tasks. The t5135 ships at the beginning of February for $199 and should be followed a month later by the t5530 in March for $299.
Japan is receiving five new laptops from Toshiba, all of which are in lineups also available in North America. The Qosmio F30-78AW comes equipped with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, as well as 2GB of RAM, a Multi DL DVD burner, and a GeForce GO 7300 videocard. The 15.4-inch screen is capable of resolutions up to 1280x800, which may prove useful, since a Regza digital TV tuner is built-in. Battery life is said to be 2.7 hours.
The remaining four laptops are in the Satellite series. The Satellite CXW is a lower-end model, shipping with just a Celeron M 430 processor, 512MB to 1GB of RAM, a Multi DL burner, and Windows Vista Home Basic. Likewise, its hard drive holds 80GB. The Satellite TXW 66AW is nearly identical, but has a larger screen (15.4 inches versus 14.1), and ups the RAM to as much as 2GB. The TXW 67AW adds a Core 2 Duo T5500, a GeForce 7600, and a 100GB hard drive; the 69AW is closest in performance to the Qosmio meanwhile, sharing its Core 2 Duo T7200 and a 120GB hard drive. No prices have been published. [Via Akihabara News]
Infamous online music store AllOfMP3 maybe subverted through a corporate buyout, according to a report today by the research firm Music Ally. The analysts indicate that an as yet unnamed "influential and wealthy" Russian tycoon has been pursuing the direct download shop and intends to legitimize its often questionable licensing scheme by taking control of the company. The businessman is working on behalf of music labels and publishers that believe AllOfMP3's extremely low-priced downloads skirt the edges of its home territory's law, Music Ally's researchers claim. If successful, the takeover would be followed by new licensing deals obtained directly from the labels themselves.
The website has been the subject of intense legal pressure in recent months, which culminated in a large-scale lawsuit filed in the US this December. AllOfMP3 has repeatedly shaken off these attempts, indicating that it received its song licenses legitimately through a separate Russian agency.
Pogo has entered the controversial realm of digital radio recording with the Radio YourWay LX, a tuner designed expressly to capture radio for those who frequently miss favorite shows. The Pogo device converts live programming into MP3 or WMA format and can be set in advance to record as many as ten separate events. Recording is also possible for line-in sources and through a built-in microphone. All of this is controlled through a unified iPod-like control wheel.
Because of the relatively low bitrate of radio, the recorder demands little memory for long sessions: the 128MB of built-in flash lasts for as much as 8.5 hours, Pogo says. Removable SD media extends this time to 70 hours on a 1GB card, and the quality is adjustable to up to 256Kbps for clearer sources. Playback itself is measured at 15 hours on a single charge. Online retailer C.Crane ships the Radio YourWay LX today for $200. [via Orbitcast]
With the Q being one of the most popular smartphones, it may be no surprise that Motorola is producing a successor, to be known as the Q2. Though generally shrouded in secrecy, a leaked financial report (PDF) confirms its existence, and a member of HowardForums claims to have recently taken a photo, which can also be seen below. Performance of the phone is merely described as "fast," which is echoed by Motorola's official declaration of support for EVDO and HSDPA broadband. The Q2 will be officially revealed at the 3GSM World Congress in February.
HDMI hubs are becoming increasingly useful to wealthier home theatre enthusiasts, but few of them have a remote control, like the EG-HDMI201 by Evergreen. An infrared receiver on the hub is good up to 4.6 feet, letting owners switch between the two ports on the device without standing up. This also means that the hub can be kept relatively concealed, though it still requires line-of-sight to receive commands. Demanding users can upgrade to three-port or five-port variants. Shanghai Donya is selling the HDMI201 for 9,980 yen ($82), the 301 for 29,980 yen ($248), and the 501 for 39,980 yen ($330).
An electronics maker named Genus today surprised many by releasing the VIZO, a low-cost media player that claims unusually high-quality video playback. When connected to a TV, the VIZO will play videos as large as 720x576 at their native resolution and speed. The extra resolution not only works with NTSC and PAL sets but even lets many AVI, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, and VOB videos transfer directly to the player without first being converted, Genus said.
Audio support is common and includes MP3, OGG, and Windows Media files, but the company adds that up to 6.3-megapixel photos are supported without having to resize images. Video playback will last up to 4 hours on the internal battery while music is rated for 10 hours. The VIZO keeps its cost low by storing 1GB of flash, and as a result ships today for $52. [via Pocket Lint]
Though Microsoft has yet to release its highly anticipated Windows Vista and Office 2007 suites, both are already subject to official complaints by competitors, according to Reuters. Petitioning the European Commission, several chief rivals to Microsoft's core Office and Windows businesses -- including Adobe, Corel, RealNetworks, and Linux distributor Red-Hat -- argued that the Redmond developer was about to repeat the same anti-competitive mistakes that had ultimately resulted in a 500-million Euro fine in March of 2004.
The attention focused on both the XAML and OOXML formats built into Vista and Office respectively. While technically based on open standards, the two file formats are only designed to work best on systems using Windows and Office, the group said, potentially shutting out some users from work documents or even websites.
The EC has said that it will look into the allegations and is already inclined to support the allegations. Microsoft had "clearly chosen to ignore the fundamental principles" of the 2004 decision and was poised to use XAML to try and control the Internet, according to a spokesman for the European Committee for Interoperable Systems. The 2004 ruling saw Microsoft forced to release Europe-only versions of Windows XP without Windows Media Player after RealNetworks complained that the jukebox software's inclusion stifled its hopes of competing with the OS giant.
New information has emerged about the Nokia E65, all but confirming the development of the smartphone, first reported earlier this month. Click below to see the new photo. What may still be up in the air are the phone's specifications, as the new ones conflict somewhat with the old. Features like WiFi, Bluetooth and the 352x416, 16M-color display are intact, but the internal memory has been raised to 70MB, and it may well connect with a standard USB 2.0 cable, though a POP port remains a possibility. Additional figures mention support for Bluetooth 2.0 and IRDA (infrared) connections, as well as the particular brand of WCDMA broadband being UMTS. The operating system will be Symbian S60 9.1, running Feature Pack 1. The phone is expected to be announced at the 3GSM World Congress next month in Barcelona. [Via Ubergizmo]
Digital Cowboy this morning unveiled a unique webcam dubbed the DC-NCP130. Seeking to overcome the limited digital zoom which has become ubiquitous in webcams, the company has built an iSight-like camera with a mountable telephoto lens. When attached, the add-on brings 7X optical zoom to the otherwise static camera, allowing it to magnify distant subjects without losing detail. The option can be used for anything from observing wildlife to home security, according to the firm. A removable tripod is bundled to maintain a steady image.
At its core is a 1.3-megapixel sensor capable of 1280x1024 video at 15 frames per second, with a full 30 frames per second achievable at 640x480; the camera connects to a computer through USB and is said to integrate easily with Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and other IM clients. The NCP130 goes on sale in its native Japan for $81 as of early February. [via Cnet]
AT&T (formerly Cingular) today added the RAZR V3xx to its phone range, adding a new device to the still small list of 3G wireless phones available in North America. The V3xx primarily brings HSDPA Internet access to Motorola's iconic phone, allowing it to connect to the highest-speed services available in some cities served by the US carrier. The thin handset also brings with it UMTS support for connecting to some Internet providers in Europe and also has legacy support for EDGE. A 1.3-megapixel camera with 8X digital zoom is present, as is Bluetooth with support for A2DP audio as well as using the phone as a modem for a nearby computer.
The phone is available today by itself for $230, but is discounted to $80 when attached to a two-year contract. This makes it one of the least expensive 3G phones available, AT&T said.
Medium format camera maker Hasselblad on Friday updated its range-topping H3D camera with a new, mid-range version called the H3D-31. The Swedish firm hoped to strike a balance between the absolute fidelity of the flagship H3D-39 and the relatively low cost of the H3D-22, achieving its namesake 31 megapixels with a smaller 44mm x 33mm sensor versus the original 48mm x 36mm lens of it 39-megapixel peer. The smaller size both allows more images on a CF card or hard drive as well as a faster time to capture full-size uncompressed images, with as little as 1.2 seconds between shots.
The new sensor provides an advantage in sensitivity not seen in other H3D cameras, Hasselblad said. The 31 model reaches ISO 800 instead of the ISO 400 of the other models, making it a better choice than any of its fellow models for low-light photography. The H3D-31 is intended for professionals at a price of $25,000 but is priced considerably lower than the $32,000 of the H3D-39. The camera is available beginning today.
Motorola this morning revealed a special, Ferrari-badged edition of the RAZRmaxx. Known as the RAZRmaxx V6 Ferrari Challenge Mobile Phone Limited Edition, the clamshell handset not only displays the Italian supercar maker's logo but also switches to an appropriately red lighting scheme for its backlights. The sound of the V8 engine from Ferrari's F1 car is timed to play when the phone is turned on or of; custom wallpaper and a collection of 30 photos of the F430 and Ferrari Challenge cars are preloaded as well.
The RAZRmaxx was chosen for the makeover due to its already high speed, Motorola said, which is represented by its support for 3.6Mbps HSDPA broadband. A 2-megapixel rear camera and forward-facing VGA camera remain unchanged from the original model. Motorola plans to deliver the RAZRmaxx V6 internationally on the 29th for €490 ($636) before service plan discounts. A full photo is available after the jump.
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