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Preliminary photos and information have been leaked regarding the E90 Communicator, Nokia's successor to the E70. Click below for larger photos. Crucially, the smartphone's most notable features are on the inside, since it opens up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, and an 800x353 widescreen display. The exterior display runs at 240x320. The phone will come with other impressive features as well, such as HSDPA broadband, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It should run the Symbian S60 OS, and deliver normal phone signals through a quad-band GSM transmitter. Some form of WiFi is said to be planned, though details are lacking in that regard. Nokia may reveal more at the 3GSM World Congress, which starts Monday. [via Engadget]
Three new compact cameras have been announced by Samsung. First is the L77, a 7.1-megapixel model with an unusually long 7x optical zoom. The camera is also just 0.8 inches thick, and records VGA video clips at 30fps, which (along with photos) can be edited while they're still onboard. ISO senitivity peaks at 1600. The S830 upgrades the sensor to 8.1 megapixels, but interestingly, downgrades the zoom to 3x. It does however have 20MB of internal memory in addition to its SD/MMC slot, and offers manual control of shutter and aperture. At the top end is the S1030, which is nearly identical to the S830 but has 10.1 megapixels, 45MB of memory, and automatic exposure bracketing. The L77 is expected to ship first in April, with the S830 and S1030 coming sometime in the spring.
Taiwanese computer maker AOpen today launched the MP945-VDR, a new version of its mini PC upgraded explicitly to help it cope with the increased demands of Windows Vista Home Premium. The improved version adds HDMI video output to connect to an HDTV and serve as a Windows Media Center; it also triples the number of USB ports to six, including two at the front for music players and cameras. A second RAM slot has been added that enables quicker dual-channel memory access and a much larger 4GB memory ceiling. The power supply has seen a jump from 65W to 90W to handle the extra demand of all the extra parts.
Performance remains close to the previous VXR edition and depends on the choice of Core or Core 2 Duo CPU. A DVD rewriter is standard while a TV tuner is optional. The VDR is on sale now in Japan and should be available in North America soon. [via Far East Gizmos]
T-Mobile has confirmed the existence of the D-Wade Edition Sidekick 3, named after NBA player Dwayne Wade, who had a hand in the phone's design. Wade is already involved with shoe and atheltic clothing design. Contrary to earlier reports, the D-Wade -- whose gold-and-white theme is inspired by Miami and Bugatti cars -- will actually come at a substantial premium: $399, or $299 with a two-year contract. This is a full $100 more than any other Sidekick 3. The scheduled release date for the phone is February 21st.
An Iowa entrepreneur has been asked by Apple to rename an event at his bar, the Des Moines Register reported today. Clint Curtis, who owns the Lift bar located in the state capital, was recently sent a cease-and-desist letter by Apple claiming that a site and podcasts associated with the bar owner's "iPod Monday" gathering violated the company's music player trademark. "Please choose a name for your product that is consistent with Apple's guidelines," a letter from the iPod creator read.
Motorola today posted a teaser site for the RAZR maxx Ve, confirming the imminent launch of the clamshell at Verizon. Discovered as early as October, the cuztomized handset is finally being prepared for service at the carrier. Verizon's edition is almost identical to the model originally revealed by Motorla last year, including a 2-megapixel camera and a large 1.7-inch secondary display to help control music, but swaps out the GSM support of the original for the provider's CDMA network.
The teaser doesn't yet reveal detailed aspects of the phone, including launch details as well as the possibility of support Verizon's faster EVDO Rev. A Internet access. The FCC recently approved an update of the GSM version with similarly quick HSDPA, likely intended for Verizon's rival Cingular.
The launch of Windows Vista in late January triggered a major jump in sales, a new report by Current Analysis said on Friday. Though the sales were predictably higher than previous weeks as some buyers deliberately held off on buying new systems until the OS was available, Vista created a spike in sales of 67 percent over the same period last year. Moreover, a full 70 percent of all systems sold included the more expensive Vista Home Premium, indicating an early success for Microsoft's attempts to raise overall prices for Windows with the new version.
HP was the system builder that gained the most from Vista, Current Analysis said: the producer of the Vista-oriented TouchSmart and tx1000 PCs took an overwhelming 54 percent of all Windows PC sales in the launch week, completely eclipsing its longtime opponent Dell.
Korea's Tomato has unveiled the Tomato mini, an ultra-compact music player that bears an uncanny resemblance both to Apple's iPod and the Chinese-made Meizu M6. Despite measuring less than 1.9 inches long and a weighing half an ounze, the player uses its familiar control scheme for many of the same functions as its inspirations. Beyond MP3 playback, the mini is capable of maintaining a contact list, eBook reading, and voice recording. Its relatively efficient OLED screen helps the device run for 10 hours of continuous music, according to Tomato's estimates.
Tomato's smallest player is already shipping in iPod-matching black and white colors. Prices vary depending on storage: a base 512MB model costs $42 in its home country, while 1GB and 2GB editions sell for $63 and $85 respectively. More detailed photos can be seen after the jump. [via AVING]
LG's recently released Prada phone is set to use Windows Mobile, according to a claim made by BusinessWeek. While the touchscreen device officially runs a lightweight version of Adobe's Flash for its interface, the weekly publication said that LG will officially announce at 3GSM that at least two new smartphones will become its first devices to use the Microsoft OS, most likely involving the newly uncovered Windows Mobile 6. The team-up will "enhance LG's stance in the growing smartphone market," according to company VP Woo-young Kwak.
Choosing the phone edition of Windows gives Microsoft a slight edge over rivals in the phone business, as three out of the top five cellphone makers (Motorola, Samsung, and now LG) use the OS for some of their devices instead of RIM's BlackBerry or the open-source Symbian. It also creates a unique opposition in the near future, with the two most distinctive touchscreen devices -- LG's Prada and Apple's iPhone -- continuing the rivalry between Mac OS X and Windows in the mobile realm.
IXI Mobile said today that it would introduce a new version of its Ogo handheld at the 3GSM expo beginning next week in Barcelona. Although the company has not revealed specific details of the upgrade, the refresh is said to include both new devices and services, suggesting more than just hardware. The platform will get its formal introduction on February 14th.
The Ogo is a direct competitor to the Sidekick and other hybrid phone communicators that focuses heavily on instant messaging through AOL, MSN, or Yahoo, as well as e-mail and RSS news feeds. Its current incarnation also reads PDF files and most Office formats. AT&T offers an Ogo device for $80.
A Canadian company, D-Wave, claims it will demonstrate the world's first commercial quantum computer next week, at an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Quantum computing is considered a "holy grail" of technology, as it allows previously difficult or impossible calculations -- notably, codebreaking -- to be peformed in moments. The promised D-Wave machine will not be powerful enough for cryptography, but should have 16 qubits, which is considerably faster than a machine with 16 standard bits. Test applications will include assigning seats under constraints, and matching molecules by pattern. D-Wave hopes to have a 1,000 qubit computer by the end of 2008. [Via The Register]
SiRF, the company behind the SiRFstar III chip used in more recent GPS units, said today that it had developed a brand-new GPS receiver chip that could bring mapping to small devices where the technology was previously too impractical. Known officially as the GSD3t, the chip has a surface area of only 1cm (0.4 inches) squared while also consuming less power than the company's earlier chipset. The improvement should let even normal cellphones include live GPS, the firm said, and will reduce the price enough to make its use more feasible. The chip is expected to demo at next week's 3GSM phone conference.
In addition to paving the way for more widespread use of GPS in cellphones -- which must normally be large to accommodate live positioning -- the GSD3t may also lend support to a claim made by Prudential analyst Jesse Tortora, who recently alleged that the next generation of Apple's iPod might use GPS for navigation. Apple's upcoming iPhone is slated to ship with Google Maps but currently has no GPS receiver, preventing it from locating the owner's actual position.
iPods are a lucrative target for thieves, and as a result Elecom has come up with an unusual deterrent: a padlocked iPod case. Once a player is in the case, made of ABS resin, it's sealed with a dial lock that can only be opened with the proper four-digit code. The lock also has a loop that can hook an iPod to a more secure object, such as a desk, or a carabiner. iPods are still fully usable in the case, although Elecom provides non-adhesive skins to protect the screen and clickwheel, if desired. Black and white cases are available for all fifth-generation iPods, as well as first- and second-generation nanos. The products should go on sale in late February for 5,040 yen ($42) apiece.
TEAC's creative audio branch, TASCAM, has just launched the MP-GT1. The company has billed its new device as the first digital audio player designed for guitarists and says it has added a number of unique features designed to help guitar players refine their skills as well as enjoy them. A guitar input jack is built in can be used to play along with MP3 tracks; the GT1 can even selectively cancel out the guitar elements from the original recording. The speed of the song is also adjustable without affecting the original pitch, while pitch itself can also be tuned to match the existing levels of the guitar. A special looping mode further helps for practice by repeating only a particular song passage; any track can have a metronome or guitar distortion effects overlay as well, TASCAM said.
Available in a single model, the MP-GT1 holds roughly 240 MP3 songs on 1GB of built-in flash. Straight playback of songs without effects is rated at 9 hours. The music player should be shipping now in the US and is available from several music stores for $200.
The upcoming BR-NX10 by Onkyo is meant to solve a continuing problem of digital music: the need for a computer. Once the NX10 has an Ethernet Internet connection, users can simply hit the AnyMusic button to be taken to Sony's digital music store of the same name, which is browsed on a large LCD display. Tracks bought at the store are downloaded to the NX10's 80GB hard drive. Should already have other music to listen to, CDs can be ripped directly, and a USB port allows the transfer of MP3 and WMA files. Onkyo expects the product to go on sale in Japan in mid-March, for a cost of 94,500 yen ($780).
Mattel has launched its presence at New York's International Toy Fair by introducing a series of new digital toys linked to either computers or music players. A highlight of the announcements was the Digital Arts and Crafts Studio (pictured). Made to at once resemble an adult's tablet input and an easel, the Studio is intended as a simple painting tool that uses real-world painting analogies to encourage children to draw. Touching the pen on symbolic points changes the brush type, color, and modes. Bundled software will also help in creating real-world projects such as coloring pages and stationery, Mattel adds.
More toys and a gallery after the jump.
The heavily-rumored Zune phone is likely to show up far earlier than expected, a source speaking to CrunchGear said on Friday. Citing the same contact that first presented news of the Zune phone to the site, editor Matt Hickey claimed that Microsoft was not only in development of the hybrid device for a release in 2007, but that it should reach stores by May -- a month before Apple's official June launch of the iPhone. An official announcement could be made before mid-March.
Such an early release would be possible based on the device's existing development history, the tip said. Although news of the device has only just surfaced, the device has allegedly been in development for some time and was converted into a Zune device as a direct response to the iPhone announcement in January.
EMI Group is on the verge of licensing its catalog without any copy protection, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Multiple anonymous sources have told the paper that EMI is currently asking for proposals from multiple online stores that would see the label receive an advance in exchange for the right to sell songs without DRM. A final decision is likely to depend on how enticing the offers themselves will be and could be made as soon as Friday, the sources said. EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer declined to comment on speculation.
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