News Archive for 07/02/14

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Media Tank blends external drives, readers in one box

02/14, 5:05pm

ThinkGeek Media Tank

Online retailer ThinkGeek on Wednesday listed the Media Tank. Billed as a way to consolidate all the external USB 2.0 storage attachments owned by some computer users, the Tank enclosure is large enough to hold both a desktop-class hard disk and optical drive, either of which is easily swapped out as drive technology improves. Regardless of the installeed storage, a 6-in-1 card reader is fixed in place alongside a USB 2.0 port for jumpdrives. A fan and heatsink cool the fully-laden case.

The multi-device hub works properly with both Macs and Windows PCs, and ships without a hard disk or optical drive from ThinkGeek on February 20th for $90. [via Everything USB]

Group wants Canada 'blacklisted' over piracy

02/14, 4:35pm

Canada to be blacklisted?

Counting Apple, Microsoft and Paramount among its members, a consortium of US corporations wants Canada put on a intellectual property "blacklist," according to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. The International Intellectual Property Alliance charges that Canada is a haven for piracy, and that as a result, America's government should place the country on a "priority watchlist" alongside China, Russia, Indonesia and others. Specifically, the IIPA believes that Canada's Conservative leadership is doing nothing to stem a flow of console mod chips and bootlegged movies. "The problem of unauthorized camcording of films in Canadian theatres is now nearing crisis levels," reads a statement from the group, which also argues that in 2006, as much as a quarter of all pirated movies were created in Canada.

Zune software humbled by iTunes: report

02/14, 4:35pm

Zune Software Humbled

Microsoft's Zune software owns just an infinitesimal portion of the music jukebox landscape, Digital Music News said today in a report. The analyst group noted that in a survey of over 1.5 million computer users, only 0.22 percent of respondents -- or 3,300 individuals -- had the Zune software installed, which is necessary to sync and buy songs for its companion device. In contrast, iTunes holds a much larger 26.59 percent share of installs, running on over 120 times more systems than its newly released challenger.

The study appears to compound Microsoft's already uphill struggle for acceptance. While additional studies conducted at the end of 2006 suggested that Microsoft held a 2 percent share of the music player market, the new report indicates a considerably lower adoption rate. Owning the device is also strictly optional for use of the software, indicating that a small portion of surveyed Zune software users may not have bought its hardware equivalent.

LG brings 3G wireless to masses wih new phones

02/14, 4:00pm

LG 3G For All Phones

Although relatively quiet at this week's 3GSM expo, LG has just previewed a pair of new phones at the conference that seek to add faster 3G Internet access to the previously untapped area of mid-range phones. The KU250 (pictured) is the first phone to have been awarded the GSM Association's "3G For All" label, according to LG: rather than adopt the size and price of a smartphone, the KU250 assumes the shape of a standard bar phone to save costs without sacrificing 3G elements. Internet connections as quick as 1.8Mbps are possible through the phone's HSDPA support; the phone even finds room for the front-facing VGA camera needed for video chats. A 1.3-megapixel rear camera, AAC/MP3/WMA playback, and a microSD slot still find their way into the phone, which is due to arrive in Europe this Spring.

Read through for the higher-end KS10 and a gallery.

Acer rolls out low-cost Vista notebook

02/14, 3:15pm

Acer TravelMate 2480

Acer today became one of the latest computer makers to introduce a budget Windows Vista notebook with its TravelMate 2480-2779. The 14-inch widescreen system is designed primarily to handle Vista Home Basic and is loaded with enough features to make good use of the new OS, according to Acer's claims. A 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD/CD-RW combo writer form its performance baseline. Expansion is broad for the price range with both a PC Card slot and a 5-in-1 card reader.

As suggested by its focus, price is the key selling point for the Acer portable, which ships now from NewEgg and other online shops for $540. [via Laptoping]

Warner bemoans musicphone downloads, iPhone a cure

02/14, 2:35pm

Warner on Mobile Music

The processes of buying and downloading music from a cellphone borders on the excruciating, according to Warner Music chief Edgar Bronfman's presentation at this week's 3GSM phone expo in Barcelona. The controversial CEO made the disturbing revelation that while many cellphones in use today can play music and buy it directly from an online store, only 8.5 percent of their owners actually choose to do so. The label head blamed this in large part on the difficulty of access, observing that even the simple act of buying a ringtone required two full minutes and 20 clicks before the download even begins.

"It's expensive, it's complicated and it's slow," Bronfman said. "It's amazing that we've generated as much revenue as we have given how cumbersome the experience can be."

Peapod player gives digital music to babies, toddlers

02/14, 2:25pm

Peapod toddler MP3 player

Canadian company Peapod is preparing an MP3 player aimed squarely at babies and toddlers, for whom a regular player would be too difficult or fragile to handle. Its enclosure has a child-sized handle, and is made of overmolded rubber, which should protect the player from falls, throws and chewing. Similarly, the display is a small monochrome LCD rather than an elaborate color model, and audio emits from a built-in speaker. Simple buttons allow playing, pausing and track skipping. A single AA battery should provide up to 40 hours of music, although critically, onboard memory can store only two. Peapod intends to show off the player at this week's Toy Fair in New York. [via Gear Live]

Mio unveils second-generation GPS phone

02/14, 1:35pm

Mio A501 GPS Phone

Mio Technology chose 3GSM as its venue today for releasing the company's second-generation smartphone. The A501 carries on the larger A700 series' use of a built-in GPS receiver for navigation but manages to slim down but also receives a slight upgrade to features. A 2-megapixel replaces the 1.3-megapixel original; for Internet use, thte A501 also gains EDGE for faster browsing. The smaller A501 still makes room for a full SD card slot for map data and an SDIO slot for add-ons.

The phone is planned for a March release at an unknown price, but may be earmarked as the first phone from the navigator company to appear in the US: where the A701's GSM connection limited it to parts of Asia and Europe, new frequency support opens the possibilty of a launch in the West. The company has previously released GPS-only units in North America. See a complete photo after the break. [via NaviGadget]

IBM plans to double processor power in 2008

02/14, 1:35pm

IBM to double chip power

Speaking at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, an IBM representative has claimed the company will double its microprocessor power in 2008. The design secret is apparently a faster form of embedded dynamic RAM (eDRAM), which should occupy a mere third of the space commonly used by static RAM (SRAM). For comparison, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor is 60 percent occupied by memory. The new chips should also consume one-fifth the electricity needed to maintain standby power. IBM expects that the technology could drastically improve the speed of multicore processors, as well as graphics-intensive applications, such as games. IBM chips are used in the three major game consoles produced by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. [via IDG News]

Mambo combines phone with serious GPS functions

02/14, 12:25pm

Falcom Mambo GPS phone

Designed by German maker Falcom, the Mambo combines standard cellphone features with significant GPS hardware. While it does have Bluetooth and a tri-band GSM receiver, the highlight is a 20-channel SiRFStar III receiver, more commonly found in stand-alone GPS units. To preserve battery power, the Mambo can also be set to use a three-axis motion sensor in place of GPS. An emergency button will automatically acquire position and send the coordinates via e-mail or SMS; alternately, it can be make a predeterimned phonecall, or be tracked by TCP/IP. Coming this spring is the Mambo 2, which will have an enhanced appearance and interface, including options for monitoring workouts and driving.

Sharp intros AQUOS Blu-Ray recorder, DVRs

02/14, 12:00pm

Sharp AQUOS Blu-Ray

Sharp this morning launched a sweeping update to its AQUOS media recorders, including its first-ever Blu-Ray burner. The BD-HP1 not only plays the next-generation disc format on TVs but records HD footage as well, writing as much as 25GB of video captured from either of its two i.Link (Firewire) connections. The extra space creates enough room for three full hours of HD video and 6.5 hours of standard-definition video, Sharp says. In Japanese form, the BD-HP1 will ship with individual HDMI and D4 outputs for connecting to HDTVs. In its home territory, the new AQUOS recorder will ship on March 20th for $1,199; a US launch is unannounced but likely, and should replace the Japan-native D4 port with component video.

Nvidia demonstrates iPhone-like concept

02/14, 11:25am

Nvidia demos Quark phone

Though only a concept, Nvidia is using the 3GSM World Congress to demonstrate the Quark, a smartphone which bears no small similarity to the Apple iPhone. This is because of the controls, which are managed almost entirely through the Quark's three-inch touchscreen -- only the power/hold switch is a physical object. Likewise, the phone is particularly focused on media playback, with the ability to run music, photos and videos in a graphically rich environment. A three-megapixel camera actually tops the model found in the iPhone. The Quark as a whole exploits Nvidia's recent GoForce 6100 chipset, which combines GPU and CPU functions, as well as audio and 802.11b/g/i/e wireless. The phone is unlikely to make it into production, but Nvidia technology is already in third-party products. [via Gizmodo]

IXI revamps Ogo with Web 2.0, media playback tweaks

02/14, 10:50am

Ogo 2 Official

IXI added to the rush of 3GSM announcements this morning by releasing the Ogo2.0, an update to its text-centric phone and messenger hybrid. The name reflects the new Ogo's adaptation to Web 2.0 and participating online, IXI says. Beyond a sharper 320x240 display and new EDGE Internet support, the Ogo2.0 is the first messenger from the company to ship with the option of using OgoClips, tube-shaped attachements that enter into the hinge and add different functions depending on the model: a camera OgoClip already exists for photos and video chats, as do add-ons for wireless headsets, music streaming, and even bottle opening.

The quad-band GSM device will ship under the CT-25E name first to Switzerland through the country's local provider Swisscom, but should be available internationally later this year for prices that will vary from region to region. Click through for full-size images.

T-Mobile set to carry Nokia 5300 XpressMusic

02/14, 10:40am

T-Mobile gets Nokia 5300

Confirming earlier suspicions, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic will be carried natively in the US, specifically by T-Mobile. The phone could previously be used here, but only if bought unlocked for over $300. Under the new T-Mobile arrangement, starting February 28th, customers will be able to pay as little as $99 for the phone with a two-year contract. The phone is a quad-band GSM unit with EDGE broadband, and as the name implies, it is specially designed for music. Control buttons are located alongside the display, and an adapter is included to use any headphones of choice. Tracks can be loaded through a slot that supports microSD cards up to 2GB. Yahoo Music is the official download partner for the phone and will be offering three free tracks. [via Crave]

Verizon carries Samsung's two-way U740 folder

02/14, 9:55am

Samsung U740 at Verizon

US cell provider Verizon today announced that it now offers the Samsung U740. Seen with the carrier's logos as early as November, the U740 is rare among US phones for its double-hinged clamshell. While opening vertically for ordinary calls, the Samsung device can also open laterally and turn its keypad into a full keyboard for e-mail or instant messages. Verizon adds that the phone's convertible shape also makes it ideal for the carrier's Wireless Sync feature: the U740 can pair with a specific PC and remotely download the latest contacts, e-mail, or other essentials as they receive updates on the host.

Samsung's device slots directly into the mid-range of Verizon's lineup with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, EVDO Internet access, and playback for music and videos from either the user's microSD cards or the provider's V CAST service. The U740 ships today for $150 when linked with a two-year plan. A gallery follows after the jump.

Radeon X2000 with Crossfire, heatpipe for Mac Pro?

02/14, 9:25am

Radeon X2000 for Mac Pro

(Updated with new details) AMD's upcoming major overhaul of the Radeon graphics line may make its first appearance in an Apple tower, sources have told The Inquirer. The highest-end part in what will soon be named the Radeon X2000 series, AMD's new card -- codenamed the R600XTX -- was initially revealed over the weekend in a leaked photo that described it only as an OEM model destined for a large-scale system builder. That builder is Apple, the source claims, which will use the card in its next Mac Pro. Measuring a large 12 inches long, the card has a custom heatpipe to reduce noise. The card will also reportedly mark Apple's first instance of support for AMD's Crossfire mode, which dramatically improves 3D performance by linking two cards together.

Garmin launches new seafaring GPS mappers

02/14, 8:30am

Garmin GPSMAP 5000 Series

Garmin has just introduced a whole suite of GPS navigators built just for sea travelers. Both the GPSMAP 5212 and 5012 are intended for serious boaters and come with a very large, 12.1-inch touchscreen that completely eliminates the need for physical buttons; while each model has a combined satellite and vector chart of the world, the 5212 gains especially detailed maps of the US coastline. Smaller cabins can opt instead for the 8.4-inch 5208 and 5008, the company says, with the only sacrifice being the lower, 640x480 resolution inherent to the smaller screen.

All four models have the option of Garmin's new g2 Vision card, which provides both satellite maps as well as 3D views from both the captain's perspective and an underwater view for avoiding shallow waters. The GPS devices are expected in time for June's boating season with prices of $3,500 and $3,000 respectively for the 5200 models, while the more compact 5000 series will sell for $3,400 and $2,900.

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