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Sony-Ericsson's recently launched W880 Walkman phone may have been just the tip of the spear in the company's new design philosophy, according to an anonymous source. Where the current phone was codenamed after Japanese tennis champ Ai Sugiyama, a new model has been given the nickname "Lindsay" based on the American player Lindsay Davenport. The new model would exchange the candybar form of the W880 for a slider design while keeping the 2-megapixel camera and a body registering at an uncharacteristically thin 14mm (0.55 inches). Lights along the side and designer colors (including green) would stress its exotic design.
An American lawfirm alleges that US shoppers may be paying more than is legal for flash memory. Organized by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a firm specializing in class action suits, a newly-begun legal investigation accuses numerous companies of conspiring to "fix, raise, maintain and stabilize" flash memory prices. The primary target of the firm seems to be Micron's Crucial Technologies division, but other major corporations have been implicated as well, including Hynix, Samsung and Toshiba -- the major suppliers of memory to Apple, which uses the chips in its popular nano and shuffle iPods. The implication may be that the cost of iPods is artificially high, although not as a result of Apple's intentions. HBSS is encouraging members of the public to get in touch via phone or e-mail if they know anything that could add to the investigation.
Recognizing the success of its recent Shine slider phone in Europe and Korea, LG at 3GSM has introduced a pair of new phones to appeal to those who prefer different shapes. Both the bar-shaped KE770 and clamshell SV490 are directly influenced by their pioneering cousin and are dominated by brushed metal, separating them from the plainer metal and plastic surfaces of most other phones.
Curiously, however, LG has not publicly released details the devices' abilities, leaving their features to speculation; both phones are likely to share the same 2-megapixel camera and Kreuznach-Schneider lens of the original Shine and should also have a dedicated music player. Both devices should receive a full unveiling before their initial release in Korea, which will be followed by international launches elsewhere. Photos follow after the break. [via AVING]
small-scale device maker Netac recently launched its A200 music player for frequent drivers. Key to the new jukebox is an internal FM transmitter: the A200 can switch to any of 21 preset frequencies to stream its music through a car stereo or most any nearby radio, altogether bypassing the need for an external adapter. A car charger is bundled with the device to ensure the music player will last for a complete drive, the company said. An FM tuner is supplied for receiving broadcasts when the 2GB of internal MP3, WMA, or WAV music fails to satisfy. Voice recording is also standard.
A 1.8-inch color OLED also gives a visual element rarely seen for the price: the full-color screen supports BMP and JPEG photo viewing as well as a more pleasant space for eBook reading. Battery life is rated at a healthy 12 to 15 hours according to Netac, which exports the A200 through Advanced MP3 Players for £69 ($135). [via Tech Digest]
Microsoft's intensive promo campaign for Windows Vista may have inadvertently backfired in terms of motivating upgrades, according to the latest NPD report. First-week sales of retail copies of the OS fell a staggering 59 percent compared to the Windows XP launch of 2001, suggesting a distinct lack of interest in updating existing systems to the new software. NPD's Chris Swenson said on Thursday that the drop was due to the steeper requirements of Vista, which encouraged a 67 percent boost in PC sales but likely cannibalized boxed sales as a result.
"Consumers are getting the message that they need a more robust system to take advantage of some of the new features," the analyst said.
Thermaltake has launched two new power supplies in its Toughpower line, one of which is said the world's first 1,200W supply for desktop computers. Power is becoming an increasingly important issue for high-end users, since even non-professional processors and videocards can consume tremendous amounts of electricity. Both the 1,200 and 1,000W models support the ATX 12V 2.2 standard, and are recommended for quad-core systems such as AMD's Quad FX. The supplies also come with three six- and three eight-pin PCI-E connectors, the latter of which are useful for the latest cards from ATI and Nvidia, while remaining backwards-compatible using a converter. SATA and Molex connectors are present as well. Cooling comes from a built-in 5.5-inch fan that spools up only when excess heat is detected. No prices or release dates have been mentioned, but the new Toughpowers should soon be on sale from sites like Newegg.
Coming in April are two new mobile SD cards from Lexar. The preeminent one is a 4GB miniSDHC card, marking the first time the company has ventured into that format. The size should be enough to hold roughly 1,000 songs, 100 hours of video, or over 4,000 photos. While support for miniSDHC is still rare in devices like cellphones, it should increase with subsequent generations. For more conventional storage the company is producing a 2GB microSD card, which will be useable in a vast majority of phones that rely on external media. Lexar has yet to suggest prices for either of the upcoming products.
Thanko has released a new pair of bone-conduction headphones, the Vonia EZ-4200Ps. While shaped like conventional sets, the 4200Ps don't actually rest on the ears, but rather the nearby areas of the skull. This stimulates the auditory nerves directly, providing equivalent sound without risking damage to the eardrums. Users should also be better able to hear surrounding ambient noise, which can be important in environments such as traffic or a subway. Each channel produces 30mW of power. Sales of the 4200Ps begin today, at a price of 9,800 yen ($81).
KVH today introduced a trio of satellite receivers in its TracVision range tailored primarily for smaller boats. In contrast to most satellite domes that need to be used with larger ships, each of the new versions measures only 14 inches across: letting smaller fishing boats and yachts tune even sensitive HDTV signal from their masts. The M3 DX is the company's flagship model for boats that regularly change satellite networks: a multi-format receiver can switch between Western networks such as DirecTV or DISH, and will also tune Canada's ExpressVu or Sky Mexico. A European version receives broadcasts from its home continent as well as many Asian networks. The DX is able to capture TV at full speed and as far as 200 miles offshore, KVH brags.
Two variants have also been released for captains with less demands. The M3 ST specializes in DirecTV coverage and adds a custom remote as well as all the local and national programming, while the simplified M2 is there for boaters who want DirecTV only when anchored at home or a favorite spot. Exact availability isn't known, though prices should start at $2,995.
Britain's Gear4 has unveiled the HouseParty III, a unique approach to iPod speakers. The 30-watt system is meant to be as unintrusive as possible, blending in with its environment. A retractable dock stows away when not connected to one of Apple's music players; even the LCD for the integrated FM radio is hidden behind the speaker grille to avoid standing out, Gear4 said.
The stereo charges, plays, and synchronizes almost every dockable iPod from the fourth-generation or later; a minijack input provides a basic audio link for iPod shuffles and other devices without Apple's special connector. The HouseParty III is packed with a wireless remote and is available first in the UK for £80 ($157).
InPhase has started shipping its new Tapestry holographic disks. Representing the first real-world use of the technology, each disk is not much larger than a DVD at 1.5mm thick but stores 300GB of information, making them ideal for archives where the sheer amount of storage would overwhelm the physical space limits of even hard drives. Though currently only a write-once format, its holographic nature makes it resilient against flaws that would normally ruin hard disks or tapes: Tapestry is immune to magnetic interference or other subtle influences and lasts for up to 50 years, InPhase claims.
The host drive works with everyday PCs by simulating a conventional drive and sells at $18,000 -- an expensive price that the firm believes can compete well against high-end backup drives. Individual Tapestry disks ship for $180 in 300GB versions. The company promises individual disks as large as 1.6TB by 2010. [via The Register]
LG on Thursday added to its Flatron computer LCDs with the L1982U. The 19-inch screen boasts the highest ever contrast ratio found in a computer display, by the company's estimates: by adding the first dedicated image-enhancing chip, known as the f-ENGINE, the screen roughly triples the average contrast ratio to 3,000:1. The display also builds in an ambient light sensor that auto-dims the picture in darker conditions.
Portability and speed are just as important, LG says. Dual hinges in the stand allow the panel to fold down almost completely flat for carrying, while an average 2ms pixel response time is said to virtually eliminate ghosting. LG's iconic L1900J "Jar" display and the ultra-slim L1970HR will also receive the contrast boost, the Korean firm said. The L1982U is making its way to international stores today, though North American release details are unavailable. [via PC Launches]
Alpine has introduced the iDA-X001, a new in-car headend receiver custom-designed with an influence by Apple. While not unique in its ability to control the music of a fifth-generation iPod while the device is attached through a USB cable, the X001 incorporates a 2.2-inch LCD which replicates the music player's menus and displays complex track information -- including album art, Alpine noted. The port also accepts almost any USB storage device and will play their MP3 and WMA songs.
Wireless support is also broad. Bluetooth is built-in for hands-free calling; the head unit further supports satellite radio through Sirius and XM receivers and is ready for HD Radio through AM and FM. Alpine plans to ship the deck in April for a price of $450. [via CrunchGear]
OCZ this morning branched away from its emphasis on memory with the Equalizer. The firm's introductory gaming mouse has one of the highest-sensitivity laser sensors at 2500DPI, for extra precision in sniping and other first-person action tasks; a button switches the DPI ratio between any of six different levels. An extra button, known as the Triple Threat, is also designed for rapid firing by treating a single click as equivalent to as many as three. Any control on the mouse can be customized through pre-supplied software.
The Equalizer is shipping in two sizes, one each for desktop and notebook users with features otherwise identical. OCZ should be delivering the mouse now but hasn't provided a price.
NEC on Thursday unveiled what it says is the world's thinnest and most unique flip-phone. The n703iμ measures only 11.4mm (0.45 inches) thick while closed, ensuring that it will fit in most any pocket. Just as rare is the outer cover, NEC said. Instead of a stereotypical external LCD, the handset uses a 49-point LED grid that lights up in a wide variety of patterns for alarms, calls, and e-mail; the user can also pick out individual patterns that will display for specific users. A privacy screen mode also prevents passers-by from seeing the phone's internal LCD from wider angles.
Click through ror more details and a gallery.
Making a bold claim, DigiTimes today said that Apple would produce a 15.4-inch widescreen consumer MacBook. The system would specifically exist to bridge the divide between the basic 13.3-inch model and the MacBook Pro line. Despite the larger screen size, the systems are expected to receive very competitive pricing relative to their smaller counterparts due to the low costs associated with 15.4-inch screens, the Taiwanese publication's sources said.
While details of the future systems themselves remain unknown, contacts speaking with the publication claim that local manufacturer Quanta -- which builds the premium but lower-volume MacBook Pro -- has won the contract, despite the portables' likely closer similarity to the 13.3-inch MacBooks currently made by ASUStek. The 15.4-inch editions would allegedly be released sometime during the second quarter of 2007, roughly a year after the Intel-based line was first introduced.
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