News Archive for 07/02/07

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Apple looms over 3GSM phone expo

02/07, 5:05pm

Apple Looms Over 3GSM

Apple may have a ghostly presence at next week's 3GSM expo, according to PC World. Even though the California company won't attend the Barcelona conference and hasn't actually released its first phone, it will have a tangible effect on presentations, the magazine says. Numerous cellphone hardware manufacturers are expected to directly compare their new phone announcements directly against the iPhone. Neonode in particular has already said that its current and upcoming touchscreen phones will beat Apple's device to stores.

Hagiwara ships ExpressCard flash drives in US

02/07, 4:20pm

Hagiwara ExpressCard in US

Hagiwara's US branch on Wednesday began shipping its distinctive ExpressCard/34 Flash Memory Drive. The drive, which had been revealed in Japan in December, is targeted specifically at the MacBook Pro and other notebooks that can use the extra speed of the ExpressCard format. In US form the drive can read as quickly as 32MB per second and write at 22MB, the company claims.

While the cards require no drivers and work with any Mac or Windows OS that supports ExpressCard/34 or /54 slots, Vista owners can use the card as a ReadyBoost cache for improving the responsiveness of systems with low RAM or slower hard drives. The card ships today in capacities ranging between 1GB ($67) and 8GB ($440).

BlackBerry 8800 photos, prices leaked

02/07, 4:00pm

BlackBerry 8800 Photo Leak

The Boy Genius Report today said that it has obtained both a BlackBerry 8800 and details of its final launch. Commenting on the feel and use of the device after hands-on testing, the anonymous author observed that the 8800 represented a significant upgrade over both the full-size 8700 (pictured at right) and the company's now-famous Pearl, offering a slightly smaller fit than the former while responding more quickly and with better speaker quality than the latter.

The site was also keen to reveal firm details for the smartphone's imminent arrival in the US. Releasing February 20th with Cingular, the 8800 should be available for $499 by itself or $299 when attached to a two-year agreement, according to BGR. Crucially, however, the version set to appear first in the US will not include the 8800's inherent Wi-Fi ability, saving the feature instead for an as yet unknown provider or unlocked version. An additional profile photo from the leak is available after the jump.

Defendant gets payout after RIAA shakedown

02/07, 3:30pm

Defendant Wins Vs RIAA

A defendant in a lawsuit filed by the RIAA has won a payout from the music organization for her court battle over file sharing, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports. Judge Lee West has ruled that the RIAA must compensate the target of its suit, Oklahoma resident Debbie Foster, for all her attorneys' fees. West justified his decision by pointing out that Foster was essentially bullied by the music labels, which had demanded that the Oklahoma woman pay a settlement or else face a potentially crushing legal struggle.

The judge had already ruled in favor of Foster last year after it was learned that the RIAA had only obtained an IP address associated with her account. West further condemned the organization's tactics by highlighting Foster's inexperience, saying that she "does not know Kazaa from a kazoo."

Samsung unveils new-look LCD TVs

02/07, 2:30pm

Samsung Bordeaux 2007

Samsung has just unveiled the new style for its LCD TV sets through a pair of new models. Continuing the earlier "Bordeaux" name based on the angled wine glass look of the chin, the new 81 series now has a transparent chin that both adds a more distinguished look and also bounces sound from the chin-mounted speakers towards the viewer.

The displays have also seen a genuine technical upgrade, the Korean firm claims: compared to earlier models, the dynamic contrast ratio has doubled to 10,000:1 thanks to a new S-PVA panel. The enhanced color range is said not just to help with shadows but also enhances the blue tints that are often neglected on LCD sets. As with the 53 and 61 series announced at CES, the 81 will have three HDMI inputs. Models are expected to ship in March at 32- and 40-inch sizes: prices are set in Korea at the equivalent of $1,700 and $2,600 respectively, but may change slightly when the TVs are released at the same time in the US.

Nokia to announce 'mid-range' TV phone?

02/07, 2:05pm

Nokia 'mid-range' TV phone

With the 3GSM World Congress set for next week, Nokia may be gearing to announce a moderately-priced TV phone, sources close to the company tell Reuters. In North America, many phones with TV service are limited to upper price scales, which in turn restricts the practical adoption of the technology. The new phone is expected to be similar to the Nokia N7 series, and may be called the N77. A purported photo has emerged at a Russian forum. Reflecting the European target audience, signals would be received in the DVB-H format, and the price would be 200 to 300 ($259-389).

CompUSA leaks 320MB GeForce 8800 card

02/07, 1:55pm

CompUSA 320MB GeForce Card

CompUSA has inadvertently pre-announced NVIDIA's first mid-range card based on the GeForce 8800 chipset. The BFG GeForce 8800 GTS OC has all the features of the GTS released in November but halves the memory to 320MB, significantly dropping the price. Card maker BFG's implementation compensates for the loss in performance, according to the slip on the retailer's page: the core speed jumps to 550MHz through a factory overclock, far higher than the 500MHz stock speed of the normal 640MB model.

BFG's card is currently scheduled to launch on February 17th at a price of $350. It remains unclear as to whether or not cards from BFG and other companies released using stock speeds will cost less.

New ASUS smartphone rumored

02/07, 1:15pm

New ASUS smartphone?

Though ASUS has only recently begun shipping phones, another one is already in development, according to French site GPSAndCo. Given only a partial name, the rumored P3xx smartphone supports UMTS/WCDMA broadband at 2,100MHz, for upload and download speeds of 384Kbps. Regular connections are through tri-band GSM and GPRS, which suggests that ASUS may not be bringing the phone to North America, at least not in its current state. Miscellaneous features include Windows Mobile 6, a microSD slot, a two megapixel camera, and wireless provided through 802.11g and Bluetooth 2.0. It's expected to ship in the third quarter of 2007. Click through for photos.

Imation boosts Clip to 4GB, hardens Pivot

02/07, 1:15pm

Imation Clip and Pivot

Imation today launched a two-pronged upgrade to its jumpdrives. The Clip now carries as much as 4GB, doubling the amount of storage for the carabiner-equipped flash stick. The new capacity should equal about 8,000 photos by the company's estimates. The top-end Clip is already shipping now and should sell for $100.

Following the boost to the Clip, the company has also toughened the security level on the Pivot (shown). The swiveling drive has had its security boosted from 128-bit to 256-bit AES encryption. The change makes sensitive information on the ruggedized drive exponentially harder to crack, according to the company. The Pivot is shipping at the same time as the Clip for a slightly higher price of $120; in a uncommon move, Imation has also said that existing owners can also update the Pivot to the new security through a patch.

Three new Kenwood Mini-USB stereos

02/07, 12:40pm

Kenwood Mini-USB stereos

Japan is set to receive three new Kenwood stereo systems, all of which has a USB port. This enables them to pipe music to a computer for direct playback, or to copy music from the stereos' CD and MiniDisc drives. Files can also be copied to a USB flash drive. The USB models are the NDL-100MD-S and the NDL-100MD-W, which each have two 15W speakers; the base NDL-100 model drops the MiniDisc player, and also reduces the speaker power to 13W. Prices were unavailable at press time, but like many Kenwood products, the stereos seem unlikely to leave Asia.

LG debuts Chocolate Platnium, European Shine

02/07, 11:45am

LG Chocolate Platinum

LG this morning unveiled two new designer phones to its Black Label series. The Chocolate Platinum (pictured) is the finished version of the previously hinted-at KE800 and is targeted as a premium version of the original. In addition to a camera upgrade from 1.3 to 2 megapixels, the Platinum is more music-friendly and gains an FM radio as well as double the internal flash, holding 256MB of songs before needing its microSD slot for expansion. Its interface is also subtler, LG claims: the screen and touch-sensitive buttons both stay dark when not actively used, presenting a clean black surface and saving battery life. No official launch date and price are set, though the phone is due first for Europe.

A full photo and details of the Shine follow after the jump.

Dvorak: "Jobs is no idiot" on DRM

02/07, 11:05am

Dvorak on Jobs and DRM

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is both right and quietly acting in his best interests by making complaints about DRM, John Dvorak said today in a comment for MarketWatch. Referring to Jobs' recent open letter on the limits imposed by DRM on music, the technology pundit notes that the copy protection controls effectively kill the social element crucial to music enjoyment by preventing sharing between friends.

"In the 1960s if you bought a 45 R.P.M. top 40 hit you could play it on any record player. You could take it to parties and play it. You could play it at the school dance. You could copy it to your tape recorder even," he says.

TabletKiosk intros Vista slate PCs

02/07, 10:15am

TabletKiosk Vista Slate PC

TabletKiosk this morning revamped its Sahara tablets to use Microsoft's newest OS. Each of the three 12-inch models is capable of running Windows Vista Business and has had its features and performance upgraded to match. All models have relatively uncommon additions like a fingerprint scanner, an eSATA connector for external hard drives, and wireless through Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi.

Models start at $1,795 with a 1.06GHz ultra-low voltage Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive in the base Sahara i412T model; a step up to the i440T increases the speed significantly to a low-voltage 1.83GHz Core Duo with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard disk. Most special of the collection is the flagship i440D, the company notes: where the first two versions have a passive touchscreen that requires a stylus, the i440D's screen is an active digitizer that can switch to finger input and registers pressure sensitivity on its own. It ships for $2,295 in March alongside the rest of the new Sahara models. [via SlashGear]

iRobot rolls out bomb robot with gamepad controls

02/07, 9:45am

iRobot PackBot 510

Roomba creator iRobot today released its toughened PackBot 510. Although meant for bomb disposal, the updated PackBot features controls deliberately modeled after console gamepads, making it possible for even relatively inexperienced users to steer the robot and grab explosives.

The robot is also much more powerful than its original, the robot maker claims. It moves 30 percent faster, lifts twice the weight, and holds items with three times the gripping force. These improvements help it remove explosives from harsher terrain without a potentially fatal drop. iRobot is shipping the 510 model in April to military and police units internationally; the US Army already expects to use the upgraded model in Afghanistan and Iraq.

TiVo lands major Amazon Unbox video deal

02/07, 9:15am

TiVo Gets Amazon Videos

Online retailer Amazon and TiVo today revealed Unbox on TiVo, a new service that will see the former's movies and TV shows available to watch directly from a TiVo Series 2 or Series 3 video recorder. The solution is different than the Apple TV and other media streaming hubs because it doesn't require an explicit link with a PC: Unbox shoppers can buy a show from any computer and have it download directly to the TiVo instead, Amazon says. Similiar to the Xbox 360, Amazon's store will also remember the sale and let the owner download the video again should it be deleted to clear space. Videos will also be above the quality of a Series 2 box, according to the two companies.

The new ability requires a broadband connection and will download a typical two-hour movie in half that time at 5Mbps. Availability is currently limited to beta testers; however, TiVo is currently accepting signups to let its subscribers know when the service will be widely available, which is said to be soon.

Samsung intros customizable world phone

02/07, 8:25am

Samsung B660 World Phone

Samsung continued its string of phone announcements by announcing a new flip phone under its Anycall name. Called the B660, B6600, or B6650 depending on the provider, the clamshell is one of the Korean company's few phones to revolve around faceplates. All of the front save for a small stripe down the center is covered by a removable front panel, which can be swapped out for either a conservative or an exotic look, ranging from silver to a denim print.

Much like yesterday's B680, the B660 is intended for the mainstream with a 1.3-megapixel camera, MP3 playback, and (in Korean form) DMB digital TV broadcasts. However, the company plans to expand the phone's use beyond its native country with releases in other regions. Specifics weren't released but will likely involve replacing or scrapping DMB support in favor of other standards. Click through for photos.

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