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Normally a cellphone producer, i-mate has just introduced the Momento digital picture frame. One of the first displays of its type built with Vista in mind, the Momento is not limited to displaying simple photos, i-mate says. The frame connects directly to a PC through Wi-Fi to act as a SideShow device and will trigger message alerts, weather updates, or other live information. MP3 and WMA music is also playable thanks to an audio output jack. Media can be loaded in a more permanent fashion on the frame through a multi-format card reader.
The frame is equally tailored to link with a new online service dubbed Momento Live, which obtains photos from the Internet regardless of its host computer; subscribers to the service will have access to photos from one or more fellow accounts and will also have the choice of subscribing to photo-based RSS feeds from third-party sites such as Flickr and Google's Picasa. i-mate intends to ship both the 10.2-inch Momento 100 ($299) and 7-inch Momento 70 ($249) February 1st but has not revealed any subscription fees for the Live function.
New from Casio is a pair of Exilim Zoom cameras, the 7.2-megapixel EX-Z75 and the 10.1-megapixel EX-Z1050. The Z75 comes equipped with 3x optical zoom and a 2.6-inch LCD, and also uses Casio's Anti-Shake DSP technology to reduce blur, though ISO sensitivity is capped at 400. Movies can be recorded in resolutions up to 640x480 at 30fps. Notably, while the camera controls aperture and shutter speed automatically, focus can be adjusted manually, unlike many other digital compacts. The Z1050 (pictured) shares similar features, but increases the ISO limit to 800, and can use tracking technology to adjust focus, ISO and shutter speed to keep up with moving targets. A better battery should provide up to 370 photos.
Both cameras make use of SD and MMC cards, as well as SDHC cards, which allow storage in excess of 4GB. A choice of colors includes black, silver, purple and pink. The Z1050 should be out soon for $300, while the Z75 will ship in March for $230.
Microsoft likely shifted its approach to Vista's development in the wake of Mac OS X Tiger's first public appearance, Information Week has revealed. Obtained as part of a public disclosure in an Iowa antitrust case against the Redmond developer, the messages indicated conversations between the company's technology evangelists and executives about Tiger in the wake of its June 2004 unveiling at Apple's WWDC conference. In at least one case, evangelists recommended changes to Vista's development based on what had been seen at the conference.
"[Our] UI must be hot. We will be directly compared against tiger [sic]," then-evangelist Vic Gundotra said. "The bits we deliver in Sept. 05 PDC [Professional Developers Conference] must be compelling, even in beta form."
While Microsoft had been developing a number of similar features in advance of Tiger's demonstration and did not add completely new technologies, the e-mails revealed the surprise that triggered a newfound refocusing in the firm. Multiple Microsoft officials observed the similarity between Vista (then codenamed Longhorn) and its Mac rival, with evangelist director observing that Tiger was akin to "a free pass to Longhorn-land." Plaintifs in the Iowa case had previously revealed an e-mail in which Windows head Jim Allchin declared in frustration that he would buy a Mac after detailing his company's lack of direction at the time.
Another phone to pass through the FCC recently is Motorola's W215, an entry-level candybar phone based on the W208. Suitably, the 215 is only a dual-band GSM phone, and is merely equipped with a VGA camera, an FM radio tuner, and Motorola's iTap technology, which predicts whole words, phrases or sentences as you type them into messages. Only two color combinations will be available, those being red and black or silver and black. Motorola has yet to disclose any details on pricing or availability.
Windows Vista's official launch has brought to light problems that were largely hidden during its development, multiple sources said on Tuesday. Windows XP users upgrading to the new OS have learned that the user agreement (PDF) for upgrade editions of Vista contains a clause that sees Vista's license supercede that of XP, porentially invalidating the installation of the old version -- which is now technically necessary for the Vista upgrade. "Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you upgraded from," the document says. "After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from."
While Microsoft is likely to allow installations of the earlier Windows version for Vista upgrades in at least the near future, the decision creates potential complications for those forced to reinstall the software as activation codes may cease to function at a later date.
Two new Samsung phones are destined to arrive at US providers Alltel and Verizon, according to a tip received by Phone Arena. Though details remain scarce, the R510 (pictured, right) is likely a CDMA-based equivalent of the T-Mobile Trace and is due to arrive soon for Alltel's network in blue instead of the silver of its GSM rival. Existing technology such as the 1.3-megapixel camera is expected to remain, though the phone will use EVDO instead of EDGE for its mobile Internet access.
Simultaneously, the Korea-based company is planning to deliver the U540 (left), an update to the U520 already in service at Alltel. The clamshell will gain its own dedicated song controls on the outer surface as well as A2DP support for transmitting its music to Bluetooth speakers. It too should keep its 1.3-megapixel camera. Neither the U540 nor the R510 have received confirmed launch information but will both be ready soon.
Tomato hoped on Tuesday to break into the designer media player arena with its new U20 player. The handheld's slim, chromed design recalls the sleeker profile of newer cameras and has room for a 2-inch LCD despite a comparatively small, 12mm-thick frame. The true strong point is the sheer range of the U20's format support, the company is quick to add. While its playback includes everyday MP3, WAV, and WMA songs as well as JPEG photos, the jukebox will also play RealNetworks' videos, the raw VOB clips from DVDs, and more exotic movie formats such as MKV. An FM radio tuner and a voice recording microphone extend options even further, and an external speaker lets owners listen to or watch music without earphones.
Although shipping with either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of flash memory onboard, the U20 has a miniSD card slot for extra memory should the player run low on space. Tomato's device accepts music from both Mac OS X and Windows PCs and should be available now, though pricing is unlisted. [via DAPreview]
Hauppauge on Tuesday added a new digital TV tuner, the WinTV Nova-TD, to its lineup. Titled after its built-in diversity technology, the USB stick connects to as many as two antennas and bonds its dual tuners together, providing added reception for Europe's Freeview digital TV in areas where the signal is poor or partially blocked. The antennas will alternately serve to receive two different channels in better areas and will play one show while the bundled PVR software records another. Owners can even use the aerials to receive the signal in a car or most trains, Hauppauge boasts.
The Nova-TD requires a system using Windows XP or later, but will tap into the Media Center environment of XP MCE or Vista Home Premium for watching and recording shows without any extra software. Hauppauge is shipping the tuner immediately for $157.
Though the existence of the K-JAR was only confirmed in October of last year, it appears that i-mate is indeed taking it to North America, as it has been submitted for approval by the FCC. The K-JAR is unusual for American PDA phones in that it has neither a slider nor a fixed-body design; instead the display flips and rotates, allowing it to be used at off angles and in a widescreen format.
The phone also has fairly robust specifications for the Western market. It runs Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC, and uses a 2.4-inch touchscreen, a two-megapixel camera, and 802.11b/Bluetooth 1.2 wireless. Storage, meanwhile, comes in the form of 64MB of RAM, 128MB of ROM, and a miniSD slot. Its tri-band GSM transmitter should allow connections with AT&T networks, but critically, there is no support for 3G technologies such as video calls. No domestic launch date for the K-JAR has been set.
The release of Windows Vista today has met with a low-key response, according to reports. Although early store openings and special events had been scheduled to accommodate the most eager early adopters, far fewer appeared at the openings than expected. CompUSA's main San Francisco store saw considerably fewer buyers than the 500 to 1,000 originally expected; many of these shoppers were also only there to take advantage of Vista-related hardware discounts, wrote CNET's Jessica Dolcourt. Similar results were seen in Raleigh and other large cities. A mid-week launch and hesitation over joining crowds were cited by CompUSA representatives as partly to blame for the slow uptake at the chain, which had begun "Midnight Madness" campaigns independent from Microsoft.
However, the reaction may have also been due to the new climate in the computer market, according to The Washington Times. While earlier Windows launches took place at the zenith of Microsoft's hold over software and services, the burgeoning of OS-independent, Internet-based tools such as Firefox or Google to erode Microsoft's once rock-steady influence. The recent popularity of the Mac in homes and Linux in businesses has also changed the environment, the Times' Alan Sipress said. Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell was optimistic, saying that Vista would be "positive" for the Redmond developer in the long term, but admitted that the new OS would not have the "Windows 95 impact" which saw massive lineups and a frenzied demand for a Windows upgrade.
The HD formats backed by Sony and Toshiba may soon face some unexpected competition in the form of HD VMD, developed by New Medium Enterprises. Though VMD discs have existed for a while, capable of holding up to five times the data of a DVD9 disc, the company has only just announced their HD format, which will be unique in that the discs can be played by a red laser, as well as the blue lasers used in Blu-Ray and HD DVD. The advantage of this is cost, since most of the world's manufacturing architecture is still built around standard DVDs. The format will of course be accompanied by its own set of players: the HD VMD Media Player Duo, which only supports 9GB discs, and the Quattro, which supports up to 20GB. Custom authoring and playback software is in development, and the drives will also play standard CDs and DVDs.
NME notes that HD VMD should be very flexible, supporting the MPEG-2, VC-1 and H.264 video codecs, as well as DTS, PCM and Dolby Digital audio. Resolutions can run up to 1080p at transfer rates reaching 40Mbps, with up-conversion being applied to standard-definition discs. Region codes and AES encryption will be optional, and it's expected that several open-source codecs will be included in the future. No precise date has been set for the HD VMD launch.
Interact-TV this morning revealed the MyTellyHD media hub. As the latest upgrade to its HTPC line, the HD edition is able to play native 720p video through its component output and will upscale any non-native content to the higher resolution. The updated hub also has the option of encoding video directly to MPEG-2 format -- a new feature that lets it encode DVDs and store as many as 32 movies on the 160GB hard drive without sacrificing image quality, according to the system builder. Music, and photo functions are also part of the hub, which can additionally stream files from across the network through gigabit Ethernet. Its Linux nature also gives it a free PVR function that can schedule TV recording without a subscription, the company says. The MyTellyHD is due today for $899 and can be upgraded up to 400GB of storage for an unlisted price.
NVIDIA marked the official launch of Vista today by revealing Preface, its reference design for Vista's new SideShow feature. Made with the help of the company's recently acquired PortalPlayer division, Preface is a miniaturized display and media playback system that uses SideShow to access information from a Vista computer without having to turn it on. E-mail, games, music, and other content can be synchronized and read from the device in this mode; when the PC is active, a Preface display can also check Vista Gadgets such as weather forecasts or other live information without disrupting the main screen.
The video chipset producer is currently demonstrating two concept devices, including a handheld that could dock with a home computer (left) as well as a remote that could be used with a home theater PC (right). While these exact designs have yet to see finished devices, NVIDIA says Preface is already in use with the ASUS W5fe notebook and should see its way into other shipping hardware in the near future. Photos of the NVIDIA designs are available after the jump.
Seagate today officially revealed a new storage technology known as Digital Audio Video Experience, or DAVE. The platform is meant to add storage to cellphones and other handhelds that normally have no room for enough built-in or removable storage of their own. A combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connects the credit card-sized DAVE wirelessly to a host device and makes its own space available. A base 10GB model will hold at least 2,500 songs or 21 hours of continuous video, the storage maker says, opening the possibility of extended mobile photo- and video-blogging as well as keeping and entire music library close at hand for a music phone. A 20GB version will also be available for yet more storage.
Appropriately, the DAVE is battery-powered and will last for 10 hours of active music or video streaming; it will also last for as many as 14 days in its standby mode. Seagate plans to ship DAVE drives to cellphone designers and carriers by Spring of this year but has yet to announce pricing.
Battery developer Boston-Power helped open the DEMO 07 convention today by announcing a new battery technology it says will dramatically improve the lifespan and usefulness of the lithium-ion batteries found in notebooks. Named Sonata, the updated batteries feature a mix of slower chemical reactions and better power management to nearly triple the longevity of a notebook's battery pack. Where heavy notebook users may need to buy as many as three batteries over the course of their system's lifespan, Boston-Power claims, only a single Sonata battery should be needed to arrive at the same goal. The design is also much quicker to reach a full charge, reaching 80 percent of its power in 30 minutes -- twice as quick as today's batteries, the company says.
Additionally, the new implementation is expected to be less prone to overheating and catching fire, problems which ultimately triggered last year's global battery recall by Sony. The extra safety and performance of the battery is said to have drawn interest from many computer manufacturers and was co-developed with HP, which hopes to use the batteries in its notebooks in the near future.
eMachines commemorated the launch of Vista today by updating its desktops to match the new software's features. The flagship T5224 is built to match the demands of Vista Home Premium and now has a 2.8GHz dual-core Pentium 4 as well as 1GB of memory. Two models aimed at running the less demanding Home Basic are also available from Gateway's budget division: the mid-range T5082 sports a 3GHz single-core Pentium 4, 512MB of RAM, 160GB of storage, and the same card reader while the entry level T3604 opts for a 3.33GHz Celeron and a 120GB hard disk. A 15-in-1 card reader and a DVD rewriter are standard on all but the basic T3604 system. The trio of new models is said to be shipping today at prices ranging between $350 for the T3604 and $530 for the faster T5224.
Updated with earbud information Apple today revamped the style of the iPod shuffle, adding four new colors to the existing silver. Three of these -- blue, green, and pink -- match the bright shades of the second-generation iPod nano, while a brand new orange tint is a completely fresh aspect of Apple's line. The player is otherwise unchanged and stores 1GB of music with playback time rated at 12 hours, though the included earbuds are now the newer design introduced with the iPod nano and revised fifth-generation iPod with video. All five colors ship today for $79 from the online Apple Store.
LG on Tuesday stepped up its challenges to Motorola's more recent clamshell phones by introducing the SV260. Part of the Korean company's Style line, the phone is housed in brushed metal and measures a relatively slim 0.69 inches when fully closed. A larger than average 2-inch LCD distinguishes the inside. Despite the emphasis on appearance, the SV260 also has its unique practical elements, LG says: the metal folder has its own extensive text-to-speech functions and translates caller information, contact lists, and schedules to the spoken word. It improves even on the internationally-oriented LC-3200 by voicing English words from its built-in dictionary.
A 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and 160 minutes of talk time are standard. The SV260 should be available now through Korea's carrier SKT; a US release is uncertain.
Toshiba early this morning gave two of its gaming-friendly notebooks an upgrade to Microsoft's just-released Windows Vista. Complementing earlier upgrades to basic models, the newer Satellite P105 S9337 and S9339 ship with Vista Home Premium and Ultimate respectively while offering upgrades to reflect the new operating system. Both versions ship with a 200GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM to run Vista smoothly; both also have the CPU and graphics hardware of Toshiba's fastest notebooks and carry a 2GHz Core 2 Duo as well as 256MB GeForce 7900 GS video chipsets for faster 3D performance. Bluetooth 2.0, a DVD rewriter, and harman/kardon speakers also transition over to the new models, the company says. Toshiba is already shipping the two S933x models to retail stores at prices of $2,000 and $2,100 respectively.
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