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The Dutch company Holland Electro has unveiled a new home theater system which is actually built into a side table, much as radios and television were built into cabinets in the past. The design is by the legendary Marcel Wanders, who has also created products for Boffi, Flos, Poliform and Droog Design. Inside is a DVD player, a 30W subwoofer and 25W speakers, which are augmented by a set of four 5W "pebbles" that provide 5.1 surround sound. A number of media formats are supported including DivX. Theatre sets are selling for €299 ($387) from the HE online shop. [Via Crave]
BenQ's design house Product Visionaries has just revealed a series of concept phones that point to company's future design direction. Foremost among them is the as yet unnamed touchscreen concept (shown). Dominated by a large display as with the iPhone, the demonstration model uses a sliding control panel to change its control method: bringing the pad to the middle converts the interface into a traditional phone design, while sliding it back creates extra room for videos or other music files.
Other examples produced from BenQ include a completely bendable model, whose snake-like shape could wrap around its owner's wrist, and an angular model with asymmetric keys and a display that can both tilt and swivel independently of the main body. The designs are not anticipated for a near-future release but are said to be based on real, achievable designs. Click through for a gallery. [via Portable Gadgets]
In addition to this morning's Strawberry Chocolate, Verizon has also brought Samsung's U340 clamshell to its catalog. Ostensibly a budget phone, the Samsung still carries with it features usually reserved for slightly more advanced devices, including a VGA camera, an external 96x96 display, and basic Internet services like e-mail and instant messaging. It also has its own unique software feature: its emergency contact list is available at all times -- even when the phone is locked, Verizon writes.
Price is considered the phone's strongest selling point; available today, the U340 is currently free when tied to a two-year service plan and a $30 rebate.
Global Security One has announced the XGate, a router with its own unique parental controls. Instead of simply monitoring access time and blocking individual sites, the network switch uses an intelligent system to flag keywords sent across instant messaging, web-based chatrooms, and other text-based online arenas prone to exploits by sexual predators. The router's owner can then be notified by e-mail or an SMS text message that will warn of the chat and even let a worried parent silently eavesdrop on the conversation. Software onboard the XGate will even scan for viruses and spam e-mail before it reaches the computer much as with a corporate router, the company adds.
A four-port Ethernet switch and a built-in ADSL modem let the device serve as the sole piece of networking equipment in a family's home. GSO sells the router for $196 in the UK and offers a free year's worth of daily virus upgrades with the purchase. [via SlashGear]
In a rare move for the software developer, Microsoft today introduced its own line of over-the-shoulder notebook bags meant to help promote the launch of Windows Vista. The Madison, Manhattan, and Monticello are designed by Samsill with women in mind and have a padded sleeve that accepts portables with displays as large as 15.4 inches. A separate compartment is provided for power adapters and other accessories likely to follow the computer around; the Monticello adds external pouches for pens annd other quick-access items. Zippers over the bags and their sleeves help keep the contents safe.
Microsoft's bags all have a leather-like black vinyl the company says are suited to professionals and ship on February 15th at prices of $60, $70, and $50 respectively. [via Shiny Shiny]
Polymer Vision and Telecom Italia on Monday unveiled what they said is the world's first handheld to have a rollable display. Called the CELLULAR-BOOK, the device will use a polymer 5-inch screen that completely folds into the main body when not in use. As opposed to e-book readers and other devices most likely to use the technology, however, the CB is built for live information as well as static text: news, real-time maps, and weather will be available through EDGE or UMTS mobile broadband as well as data broadcasts over Europe's DVB-H towers. Books and other text can even be purchased directly through Telecom Italia's broadband network, the two companies add. Music playback will also be an option.
The entire device is controled through a unique, touch-sensitive strip an should last for a long ten days between battery charges courtesy of the display's low power draw, Polymer Vision says. A model with 4GB of built-in flash will make its first appearance at next week's 3GSM conference in Barcelona. Telecom Italia will be the sole carrier of the communicator in its home country, though Polymer Vision has not ruled out launches in other territories. [via Mobile Mag]
Coming in February is the LN505, a new GPS unit from LG. The product is clearly aimed at a more affordable price bracket, having just a 276MHz processor, and none of the music or video abilities of some of its rivals. It can however display BMP, GIF and JPEG images, and comes with a 512MB of ROM, as well as an SD slot and a Mini-USB 1.1 port. The onboard software is Destinator 6, which pulls its data from a SiRFstar III receiver with a built-in antenna. The display is a 3.5-inch QVGA touchscreen with 260,000 colors. LG is currently targeting the product at France, but it seems likely to spread to other countries by the end of the year. The French price is set at €199 ($258).
Longtime home stereo maker Denon today said it would branch out into portable audio, dramatically expanding from its single DJ-oriented HP1000 to a total of six models aimed at portable media players and home listening alike. The AH-C350K ($50, pictured) and AH-C700K ($200) are both geared towards portable audio and share an Acoustic Optimizer technique for bass enhancement on the low-power drivers; the C700K improves over its basic equivalent by replacing the plastic shell with a longer aluminum casing that helps better reproduce sound, according to the company. The two earbud sets will ship February 10th in black or white for the C350K, and black or silver for the premium C700K.
Three headphones are also expected. The AH-D1000 ($150) bridges the divide between portable and studio-style headphones with a lighter, smaller design; in contrast, the larger AH-D2000 ($350) and AH-D5000 ($700) are meant to replace dedicated speakers. The D5000 in particular uses a mahogany wooden shell that improves the overall sound, Denon claims. Each of the D-series headphones has a microfiber diaphragm that cuts down on distortion. The firm will ship all three at the same time as the earbuds and is accepting pre-orders today through Amazon. [via Crave]
Sony has introduced two new sets of headphones intended for portable music players. At the top end is the MDR-Q68LW, which has an output of 108dB/mW, and can span frequencies between 16Hz and 24KHz. The earpieces weigh only 1.5 ounces, and are also just 0.6 inches thick. Slightly less powerful is the Q38LW, producing 104dB/mW and cutting off the bottom frequenies at 20Hz. It is even lighter however at 1.3 ounces, and comes in six different color combinations. The 68LW also comes in six versions (black, white, silver, blue, red and cream), but only features black trim, instead of the red, white and orange options with the 38LW. Buttons on each of the sets will recoil the audio cable automatically. Prices were unavailable at press time. [Via Akihabara News]
The display-making partnership LG-Philips LCD used its presence at the recent ICDL expo to demonstrate a slew of new LCD panels with LED backlights. As with a similar presentation by Samsung, the line ranges from small displays to larger models intended for TVs, all of which take advantage of LEDs to improve brightness and power efficiency compared to today's lamp-lit screens. Models will start with 7- and 8-inch screens but will also involve 15.4-inch notebook variants as well as 26- and 47-inch HDTV models, the company said. The larger models in particular will have exceptional color fidelity, achieving as much as 136% of the NTSC color gamut with the 26-inch version. An official production date for the range hasn't been revealed but should follow within the next few months.
In a surprise move, an Apple Cinema Display was also on display at LG-Philips' booth during the conference, prompting questions about the presence of the American-branded product. While the display may have been used solely for comparison purposes, its placement at an LED-only conference as a demo unit points towards an eventual update of one or more Apple monitors with the enhanced backlight. A second photo of the LG-Philips screens as well as the Cinema Display follows after the jump. [via AVING]
The ability to roam is a primary advantage of WiFi, and to that end, Korean maker Etri has announced a new WiFi router with extreme range. The company's Wireless AP product can broadcast to distances between 100 meters and a full kilometer, which translates to 3,281 feet. This is several times the distance of a conventional router. The Etri product can reach speeds of up to 270Mbps, and encrypts its signals so that it can't be accessed by the greater number of third parties it reaches. The company has also announced a similar router, but with shorter range and 240Mbps transfer. No tentative dates or prices have been discussed.
Ramos today revealed the Q13, its latest entry into the music player field. Unabashedly influenced by the second-generation iPod nano, the flash-based player is actually slightly thinner than its Apple reference point and adds video support to its music and photo abilities. Its 1.5-inch LCD is also closely matched to that of the nano.
Few exact details have been released beyond the initial announcement, though the company notes that its base model will ship with 1GB of flash memory and should be available first in China. A full size image of the Q13 can be found after the jump. [via The MP3 Players]
While in-car entertainment systems are nothing new, the newest one from GadgetUniverse is unique in that instead of mounting to the dash or the roof, it replaces an existing sun visor. It's controlled through the seven-inch, 16:9 touchscreen, and can play standard CDs and DVDs, as well as VCDs, MP3 CDs, and CD-R or CD-RW discs. Files can also be played using an SD card or a USB connection. Should that not be enough, FM radio and analog TV can be picked up with built-in receivers. The player is selling for $300 without a warranty. [Via CrunchGear]
Smartphone maker Palm this morning revealed a new, unlocked version of the Treo 750 that adds HSDPA. The change makes the new phone the first from the company to support 3G wireless and gives it downstream Internet speeds as quick as 3.6Mbps, far exceeding the existing EDGE and UMTS connections available before.
The introduction also represents the first time the phone has been widely available in Europe, ending an exclusive deal for the Treo 750 struck with Vodafone in the Fall of last year. Palm's latest phone works with any GSM-based cell network and can be purchased unlocked for £429 ($944) in the continent. A US launch is probable given the phone's support of US networks and Cingular's existing use of the 2.5G-based Treo 750.
LG today announced that the BH100 is at last reaching US stores. Although word surfaced that it had already shipped in advance and was available as early as mid-January, the movie player should now be widely available throughout the US.
LG's device, known also as the Super Multi Blue, is the first drive of its kind to play both Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies, including at their native 1080p resolutions when using HDMI output. Its processor will also upscale DVDs to 1080i. The BH100 maintains its originally announced $1,200 list price.
Departing from the mainstream, System 76 has just unveiled the Darter Ultra preloaded with Ubuntu Linux. The company hopes to bring the same level of support to hardware running the open-source OS that owners would expect with Windows systems, and has ensured that the 13.3-inch widescreen notebook is set with drivers for every aspect of its design. The system ships with a 4-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard/54 slot, and video outputs for both S-video and VGA; the Intel-based mainboard's 802.11/a/b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 7.1-channel audio also work on first boot. Battery life is also excepptionally strong, according to the company. A standard battery will last an average 4.5 hours, but an extended battery doubles the running time to a full 9 hours.
Models can be ordered today at $995 with a 1.46GHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, 40GB hard disk, and a dual-layer DVD rewriter. A fully-equipped system with a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 100GB hard disk is available for $1,902. [via Core Duo News]
Western Digital this morning updated one of its flagship personal backup drives with a new interface: the My Book Premium ES Edition supplements the original USB 2.0 with external SATA, raising its theoretical maximum speed to the same 3Gbps of the fastest internal hard drives. The drive can reach burst speeds of 300MB per second versus the 60MB per second limit of USB, its creator claims. Systems attached to the My Book through USB 2.0 in turn get a ring-shaped capacity gauge that lights up as the disk is filled. Every drive also ships with a copy of EMC's Retrospect Express HD for automating backups for both Mac OS X and Windows PCs, both of which can connect through the eSATA port.
The Premium ES Edition is already reaching stores and sells at a price of $179 for a base 320GB version, while its larger-capacity 500GB sibling retails for $229.
OQO on Monday brought EVDO and Windows Vista into the options for its model 02 ultramobile PC. Just introduced last month, the model 02 can be custom-ordered with a built-in receiver for Verizon's EVDO-based BroadbandAccess network, allowing the handheld to connect to the Internet from any of the cell carrier's coverage areas without a USB adapter. The expansion adds $149 to the base $1,499 price and is available for order today, though systems are not expected to ship for the next few weeks. Sprint EVDO access has been available since January for the same price.
Customers at the company's online store additionally gained the option today of ordering the model 02 with Vista pre-installed: the premium model now has the option of replacing Windows XP Professional with Vista Business at no additional charge. The system can also be upgraded with Vista Ultimate for an additional $100, OQO says. The Vista-capable model ships in several weeks' time with a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of memory, and a 60GB hard drive for $1,849.
LG this morning overhauled its XCanvas lines of LCDs and plasma TVs. Intended as compact PVRs, all five sets ship with both dual HDTV tuners and a 160GB internal hard drive. Viewers can record one HD show while watching another or see both at the same time using picture-in-picture, LG says. A USB 2.0 port adds external hard disks for extra recording time.
Each one of the new sets also implements LG's newest XD Engine for processing video and XCC for cleaning image artifacts and noise. The LCD-based LY3DR versions are available first in Korea at sizes between 37 and 47 inches and are capable of 720p/1080i signals for prices starting from $2,592; the 50-inch, 720p-ready PB3DR and 60-inch, 1080p PY3DR sell for $4,286 and $9,496 respectively. North American equivalents are very likely but have yet to be announced.
Verizon has just added the LG Strawberry Chocolate to its phone lineup. Complementing Friday's launch of the KRZR K1m Fire, the Strawberry brings a bright pink color to the LG slider, including a color-matched user interface. The 1.3-megapixel camera, music playback, and other elements of the phone remain the same as for the original.
Unique to the pink model, however, is the price: the phone ships today for $100 after a rebate and two-year plan, substantially lower than the $130 of other Chocolate versions.
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