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Newly announced by Panasonic is the SDR-S10, which the company claims will be the "world's smallest" digital camcorder at just 4.5 inches long and 1.2 inches thick. By building to these dimensions, Panasonic hopes that users will treat the S10 as an everyday convenience, much like a compact still camera. Moreover, the camcorder will support the burgeoning SDHC format, which is capable of card sizes ranging from four to 32GB. A bundled 2GB standard SD card will be able to record up to 50 minutes of MPEG-2 video. Other features should include a USB 2.0 port, a 2.7-inch LCD, and 10x optical zoom. The SDR-S10 will first arrive in Europe in May.
Citing a 50 percent drop in NAND memory prices, caused by excess supply, SanDisk has announced a variety of severe cost-cutting measures. The harshest among these is the layoff of 10 percent of its employees, or roughly 250 people. The bulk of the terminations will happen in March, and should primarily target the company's "private label" USB business, which has not been as profitable as the SanDisk brand. All other employees will have their salaries frozen, except for the executive staff, who will take pay cuts ranging from 10 percent for the average vice president up to 20 percent for the CEO. Total savings are expected to be $30-35 million. Shoppers will benefit in the short term, as prices may drop by as much as 30 to 40 percent during the first quarter of 2007.
TV maker Zenith today announced that electronics inventor Dr. Robert Adler died yesterday of heart failure at age 93. Along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley, Adler was responsible in 1956 for creating the TV remote control, a now ubiquitous device in most households and a technology that has ultimately influenced electronic devices ever since. The prolific scientist was also responsible for early research into touchscreens and optical video disc players, the latter of which ultimately developed into today's DVD formats. A memorial service is planned for Spring.
As a technology news site whose very being was almost certainly influenced by Adler's work, Electronista extends its sympathy to his wife Ingrid and hopes that his contributions will be remembered for a long time to come.
Sony is close to announcing its first direct competitor to the iPod nano, details and photos leaked to the Internet have revealed. Though the company's only official acknowledgement is a teaser page with a timer set to elapse on March 1st, sources have indicated that the mystery device known as the A800 will effectively be sold as a video-capable alternative to Apple's flash-based player, sporting a profile just as thin as the 0.26-inch nano while carrying a larger screen for viewing movies titled on its side. The use of flash and Sony's custom battery work would let videos run for as much as 8-10 hours.
More details and a gallery follow after the break.
Navman has announced three new GPS units for the European market, all in the company's F series. The F50 represents the top of the line, with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a SiRFStar III receiver, 32MB of internal memory, and an Intel PXA processor. Bluetooth 2.0 is enabled with an accompanying cradle, and SD cards can be used to load new maps. Traffic information is updated in real-time. The F40 is differed mainly by dropping traffic functions; these are restored in the F30, but the trade-off is a lack of Bluetooth. The F30 should be shipping for £199 ($391), while the F40 and F50 are priced at £229 and £249 ($449 and $489). [via Navigadget]
Customers of the media-savvy virtual carrier Helio are about to get the option of a second Samsung phone, according to leaked images provided to Phone Arena. Characterized as a challenger to LG's ever-present Chocolate, the new handset known to date as the SPH-A303 (pictured) would share both the basic slider design as well as the Chocolate's trick of hiding touch-sensitive buttons in a glossy black shell, making them visible only through a backlight. It should also be music-ready, the source claims, with 140MB of built-in storage.
The mystery cellphone should be placed into Helio's lineup as a step below the other Samsung device at Helio, the GPS-equipped Drift, by using a lower-resolution 1.3-megapixel camera. EVDO broadband will stay intact, however. A ship date and price for the carrier's fourth phone are currently unknown.
Specialty online retailer Hammacher-Schlemmer today announced the O'hEocha Audiophile's Speakers. The two-piece set is created by ex-BMW designer Aonghus O'hEocha with the intention of creating an ideal soundstage for music and does so by separating each frequency range. The 11-inch subwoofer in each satellite faces downwards to maximize its power and avoid transfering too much distortion to the ground; in turn, the mid-range drivers are lifted above the subwoofers to cut back on resonance, as are the one-inch tweeters that sit in isolated pods at the very top of the satellites. The entire shell of the speaker set is made of aluminum and steel that stiffens the body and reduces vibration, O'hEocha explains.
Hammacher has officially released the Irish-made speakers today at a price of $8,995, though the online store notes that the speakers' popularity has already forced them out of stock. [via Crave]
Dell revealed on Friday that it was forming a new division that would handle all of its mainstream computer hardware. Called Global Consumer, the group is tasked with revitalizing Dell's designs and adapting the business to the developing world, where many are using computers for the first time. The move is likely due to underwhelming performance, as the company has recently suffered at the hands of its rival Hewlett-Packard, which stole share from the system builder over the past year and trigged a downfall that ultimately resulted in the return of Michael Dell to the lead of his own company.
Surprisingly, the new section will be headed by Motorola's mobile device head Ron Garriques, who today announced that he would leave the phone maker for Dell. The leader was perhaps best known for overseeing the company's attempt to capitalize on the success of the RAZR, and earned a minor amount of notoriety for an unintentional presentation leak that revealed Motorola's 2007 phones ahead of the 3GSM expo.
A newer competitor in the smartphone arena is Giga-Byte, who unveiled their G-Smart q60 at this week's 3GSM World Congress. Features should be competitive with any modern phone, since the q60 uses a 520MHz XScale processor, and supports wireless technologies such as 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and digital radio and TV tuning. Two cameras are included as well, those being a 2.1-megapixel still model, and a VGA camera on the front for video calls. EDGE and UMTS broadband are supported, but the phone is unlikely to come to North America in its current state -- calls are sent through tri-band GSM. It will first arrive in Taiwan this summer, with a European deployment to follow.
In an especially unusual move, Thanko on Friday revealed the USB Mask. The device is made just for regular computer users whose desks and offices are prone to dust, pollen, and other allergy-inducing materials in the air. It uses a free USB port on any Mac or Windows PC to power an active filter that cycles out harmful particles. The mask is made out of silicone to provide a comfortable fit and help wearers concentrate on their work.
The Japanese firm currently sells its unconventional face guard for $20; a separate AC adapter for using the mask away from a computer sells for an extra $11. [via New Launches]
For parents whose children are constantly using instant messaging, the newly-revealed IM-Me by Mattel should offer some relief. Using an RF dongle that plugs into a PC's USB port, kids can take their messaging to virtually anywhere in a home, with the full benefits of a QWERTY keyboard and a widescreen LCD display. The IM-Me also offers additional security, since the only people who can send messages to the device are those pre-approved from the PC. Unfortunately for those seeking "masculine" colors, the model showing at this week's Toy Fair in New York comes only in purple. It's expected to debut sometime this summer for $65. [via Wired]
Australia's SMS Technology today announced final details for its new M300 wristwatch. Originally planned for a release late last year, the multi-role device encountered delays due to its integration of several disparate technologies. A GSM phone is built-in for making phone calls, complete with GPRS Internet access and SMS texting; the device also has MP3 playback for entertainment and a Bluetooth 2.0 transmitter for transferring contacts, files, and songs to the onboard 64MB flash memory. The small size doesn't diminish battery life, according to the creator, as the watch will last for 200 minutes of continuous phone use.
The finished watch will be ready for an introduction in its home territory by April 25th, when it will sell for $510. A European launch is due later this year. The firm also anticipates a gold- and titanium-clad luxury model dubbed the M501 to appear in June, and an M700 business model with Office document synchronization. [via Tech Digest]
The new Zoffy may appear to be a standard USB mouse, but its infrared optical sensor is capable of gaming-level precision, reaching 1,600dpi and a framerate of 6,700fps. Also, while there are just three buttons, the wheel is capable of scrolling horizontally as well as vertically. Windows Vista certification means no drivers have to be installed to get full functionality in the operating system. The mouse will be offered in four different colors (red, black, blue and silver) as of late February.
Third-party manufacturer GeCube has released a new videocard based on ATI's X1950 chipset. The new X1950XTX may only be an AGP 8x card with 256MB of DDR3 RAM, but thanks to an onboard X-Turbo fan, it should be capable of much greater performance. The fan dominates most of the card's surface, and uses thermal sensors to keep heat under constant control, even when overclocked. Whereas other XTX cards are normally clocked at 648MHz, this variant can reach at least 675MHz while still maintaining temperatures between 158 and 176F. Tweaking is done with ATI's own Overdrive control panel. The card is not available in the US just yet, but should soon be carried by Newegg and TigerDirect.
iRiver began its weekend today by releasing the X20. It serves as a bridge between the company's small Clix 2 and its hard disk-based players, dropping the screen edge buttons of the Clix and S10 in favor of a scroll wheel with edge buttons. The X20 is also unusual for the Korean jukebox maker in its storage options: while the player ships with either 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of internal flash memory, a microSD card slot extends that space by as much as an extra 2GB.
More info and a full photo can be found after the jump.
Home theater firm Runco this morning stepped up its efforts in the TV realm by releasing the Vidikron VP-6500VHD. One of the largest plasmas available, the 65-inch screen is the first to ever receive a THX certification for its quality, the company says. The panel is the American brand's first 1080p set but aims at image quality better than most of its rivals. A 16-bit video processor creates a subtler picture without any of the aliasing or banding artifacts seen on earlier displays; an equally special breakout box included with the system, known as the Imagix, provides its own video processing, dual HDMI ports, and RS-232 connections for linking the set with home automation equipment.
As the company's headlining model, the VP-6500VHD sells for $20,000 with the choice of either a black or silver brushed-metal frames. A specialty version known as the VP-6500VHDa is also available for those who live at higher elevations -- as high as 9,000 feet, Vidikron says. [via Engadget]
Macrovision on Friday issued its own open letter on digital rights management. Responding to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' provocatory Thoughts on Music memo, Macrovision head Fred Amoroso unsurprisingly defended DRM, which forms the heart of the company's business in areas such as DVD copy protection. The company chief largely opposed all of Jobs' assertions, contending that DRM was an "enabler" that allowed content providers to offer rentals and other lower-priced deals. Removing DRM would "doom all consumers to a 'one size fits all' situation" and would ultimately delay the spread of digital media, Amoroso warned.
The leader also offered to help Apple with its DRM format, promising to "assume responsibility" for making FairPlay work with other devices and ensuring its security. Anti-copying measures work well for the end user if they're truly interoperable and have a reasonable level of restrictions, he said.
Microsoft has just expanded its own self-branded line of notebook bags with a unisex series. The Samsill-made bags were initially launched earlier this month with female-oriented models but now includes a much larger variety to accommodate more travelers. Cases start with the basic Zipper Laptop Binder ($45), a sleeve with a paper binder and pockets for accessories, and culminate in the Diplomat ($130) rolling case for frequent visitors to the airport.
Every bag holds at least a 15.4-inch notebook, according to Microsoft. The backpack models, including the pictured Summit ($80), also include a special pocket for MP3 players with a headphone port. All models are shipping today through a customized section of Amazon's online store.
Microsoft late yesterday surprised analysts by trying to downplay Windows Vista's sales for the next year, according to the New York Times. Although still positive about the ultimate future of his OS, company CEO Steve Ballmer told a meeting of financial experts that many of them hadn't drawn a realistic connection between Vista and PC sales, suggesting that Microsoft would thrive in spite of a sluggish PC business.
"These [predictions] are out of whack," Ballmer complained. "If Vista is growing, there should be a lot of [PC makers] participating."
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