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Sling Media is developing its own line of networking gear to complement its media hubs, according to a forum discovery. The SlingLink Turbo will be a simple powerline adapter meant to attach the company's own Slingbox tuners, video game consoles, or almost any living room device to an existing network without requiring either a lengthy cable or a Wi-Fi bridge. Plugging the base unit into a router and a smaller bridge into each device is the only requirement, Sling says. The unannounced device is capable of up to an 85Mbps connection and will further work with rival companies' hardware.
A release of the adapter is imminent, with an official unveiling anticipated for February 27th, when a complete bridge and switch combination will sell for $150 through Amazon and other stores. The price of an individual bridge is still unknown. [via Sling Community]
GPS designer Royaltek today reiterated its plan to launch the staR, a hybrid GPS device geared for entertainment as much as navigation. Besides the typical duties of route-finding and tracking, the staR will integrate the GPS position into its leisure: stargazing, games, and other software set to ship with the device will use the technology, the creator says. The handheld will also keep track of jogging and other exercise, using the distance and speed to calculate the body mass index and calorie burn for a given trip.
Complete information on Royaltek's new device is unavailable, but is known to include a 2.2-inch color LCD and a waterproof shell. The device should be fully revealed at next month's CeBIT expo. [via GPS Gazette]
Confirming earlier allegations, both Sirius and XM this afternoon announced a formal union. Dubbed a "merger of equals," according to both firms, the deal will see each company's investors own roughly 50 percent of the united company, preventing any one faction from gaining absolute control of the new venture, which is now said to be worth $13 billion. Mel Karmazin of Sirius (pictured) will assume the role of CEO while Gary Parsons of XM will be its chairman.
While the deal has yet to be approved and should only be finalized by the end of this year, the currently unnamed business intends to preserve as much of both halves as possible, expanding the channel lineup and using the combined strength of their hardware research. The move should also let satellite better compete against iPods and HD Radio, the companies claim. A webcast explaining more should be available online and on both radio networks tomorrow at 8:30 AM Eastern.
i-mate has just delved into both HDTVs and PCs at once with the X-Stream. An LCD set on the surface, the frame contains a full Windows Vista Ultimate PC that serves both as the home for typical digital files as well as a personal video recorder for capturing live TV on a 500GB hard drive. A built-in Wi-Fi connection also lets the X-Stream reach online program guides and the media libraries of other Media Center-equipped systems around the home. Both the screen and the attendant PC can drive video as sharp as 720p or 1080i, i-mate says.
Just as new is the optional X-Stream Dock. Though primarily an extender that brings the host set's content to other TVs, the dock can also act as an access point for the main PC: a user can remotely control the X-Stream while leaving all the CPU and graphics-intensive work on its side, i-mate says. No price or launch date has been given for the main TV, though the company hopes to sell the dock for $195 or less. A full image of the X-Stream follows after the break. [via Wired]
Parrot's BOOMBOX is a stereo primarily designed for those who don't need a built-in disc drive. Though it has an RCA jack, the main input is intended to be Bluetooth, whether it comes from a computer, a cellphone or an adapter. Bluetooth 2.0 is supported, as is A2DP stereo, and AVRCP remote control. A built-in decoder translates MP3 or general SBC-type codecs. The most impressive aspect of the stereo may be its satellite power though, which at 60W is greater than many similar products. It is also equipped with a subwoofer and automatic input detection. The BOOMBOX should ship in the second quarter of 2007 for £150 ($294).
Microsoft on Monday surprised many by shipping Virtual PC 2007 as a free download. Officially intended to help users test both new and old software in a sheltered space before using it on the main systems, the software runs a virtual copy of one or more operating systems in a safe environment -- including the ability to run Windows Vista on an XP system, Microsoft said. Its support also works retroactively, covering archaic shells such as MS-DOS or OS/2. The software requires a professionally-oriented version of Windows Vista or XP (including Vista Ultimate) for the host, in either 32-bit or 64-bit form.
The new edition of Virtual PC marks the first since the company officially killed the Mac version in mid-2006 and makes no specific mention of support for operating systems made without Microsoft's involvement.
A new storage format could potentially eliminate the high price tag for some HD movies, according to DCA. Called 3X DVD-ROM, the technique fits all the content needed for a disc to play properly in an HD DVD movie player -- including audio, video, and copy protection -- on to a standard DVD, saving the trouble of pressing a much more expensive HD DVD for shorter videos or those without many extras. Better compression and lower HD resolutions could even fit full-length movies on a disc, developers have said. The technology should work with existing HD DVD players using little to no software changes.
Today marked the first successful production of a 3X DVD, the company said, and factories that already produce standard discs using devices from Eclipse Data Technologies can already receive an upgrade to start writing new discs. Large-scale production, as well as titles that would use the new format, haven't been announced.
Sold by Crazy About Gadgets, the Credit Card Digital Camera strips out all but the essentials, creating an extremely compact device that is also extremely cheap. The sensor is rated at 0.3 megapixels, which can still produce up to 26 1280x960 photos, stored on 8MB of RAM; alternately, users can shoot as many as 209 images at 640x480, or record up to 40 seconds of video. When connected to a computer, the unit doubles as a USB webcam. It is missing electronic flash however, and to check framing, users must rely on a manual viewfinder rather than an LCD. CAG is selling the camera in silver or pink for £20 ($41).
Illegal copying is a key reason for Vista's poorer sales, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told analysts. In addition to warning financial experts that sales of the new OS would fall short of some expectations, the company chief has openly attributed the underwhelming launch to wide-scale piracy in developing countries known to bootleg the majority of their software. Upgrade sales were known to have tumbled versus the five-years-old launch of Windows XP.
Controlling their access was described as a key to turning around Vista's fortunes. "Piracy reduction can be a source of Windows revenue growth," Ballmer said.
Rumored for months, the New York Post is claiming that XM and Sirius may announce a merger later today, following a weekend of intense negotiations which could still collapse at any time. The primary issue is said to be anti-trust concerns, as a merger would create a monopoly over satellite radio in North America, possibly running afoul of US law despite weakened regulations. The financial incentives could be worth it for the companies, however; analysts predict savings of almost $7 billion per year, and the combined subscriber base would amount to over 12 million people. There would also be less hesistance with the public as a result of competing standards. If the deal is announced, it may takes as long as 15 months to be approved by the US government.
Though more of a novelty promotional item, the Desktop Digital Photo Cube by eNECESSITIES holds up to 30 photos and displays them on a one-inch screen, which may be small, but not much more than the cube, which is 2.6 inches in any direction. A "mood light" enhances the logo, and the bundled sync cable connects to a USB 2.0 port for transfer and battery charging. Windows 98 or later is required. Reflecting the intended audience of the product, a minimum of 25 cubes must be ordered, at a base price of approximately $51. [via Everything USB]
Samsung's upcoming mobile TV phone for the American market appeared briefly on Verizon's test page, according to a leak discovered by My: Tech. The appearance essentially confirms an imminent launch of the phone and its accompanying mobile TV service, which should represent the first-ever digital broadcast TV service readily available in the US. The features should remain unchanged from the CES announcement with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and EVDO as standard.
Pricing for the U620 will be set at $150 when the phone is bought along with a two-year contract. An official launch is unknown but should take place within the next two weeks, as the test page is usually the final precursor to a public release.
Desk space comes at a premium in many offices; Earth Trek's answer is the 21-802, a stylish tape dispenser which doubles as a four-port USB hub. As with conventional USB 2.0 hubs, it supports transfer rates up to 480Mbps, and requires either Windows 98 or Mac OS 8.6. The three ports on the end can be rotated 180 degrees. It comes in blue, gray, white and "rainbow" colors, and is also sold in a smaller version for less sizable tape rolls. While the 802 should already be on the market, ordering one online may be difficult, as Earth Trek only directly sells to retailers.
ASUS on Monday previewed its lineup for the CeBIT expo in March. Among the new announcements is the P2-M2A690G (pictured at left), the company's latest entry into barebones media PCs. The black, leather-effect case is said to fit into most home theaters and is the first to use Blu-Ray for high-definition video. Accordingly, an HDMI output ensures the next-generation disc format can play at its native 1080p. VGA for video and SPDIF optical audio output are also present in addition to a multi-format card reader.
Also new to the company's line for the German expo are the LS201 (right), a 20-inch widescreen LCD with an extremely high 2,000:1 contrast ratio and ambient lighting at the base; the Z801, a luxury flip-phone with a leather-bound shell and a scratch-resistant sapphire external LCD; and the P526, a variant of the earlier P525 with a smaller 2.6-inch LCD and Windows Mobile 6. More details should follow in the days leading to CeBIT's March 18th opening.
Taiwan's MainNav has just introduced its first GPS wristwatch. The MW-705 contains its own GPS receiver and serves as both its own tracker and as a complement to other devices. By itself, the watch provides basic coordinates as well as distance traveled and speed. An optional Bluetooth 2.0 transmitter, however, pairs the device with a cellphone or PDA to add live positioning in map software. Runners can also take advantage of a heart rate monitor and a thermometer to track their progress.
The ruggedized watch is waterproof and is powered by a lithium-ion battery, although battery life is unknown. The MW-705 should be available in its home country and has the possibility of reaching North America, although a release here hasn't been confirmed. [via GPS Gazette]
Japanese outfit Century is selling the OS Emergency Box, an unusual approach to USB backup. It's actually an enclosure, which supports any 2.5-inch EIDE hard drive as long as it's also less than 0.4 inches thick. Once the Box is configured, users can simply push the "Data Backup" button to copy documents, or they can push "OS Backup," which copies over a bootable version of Windows in case the local copy becomes corrupt. The Restore button returns whatever data was last chosen to be copied. The Emergency Box requires Windows 2000 or XP, and is available online for 3,980 yen ($33).
Gresso this morning ventured beyond its mainstay of luxury cellphones by previewing the Symphonia. Intended as much as jewelry as a functional music player, each version of the device has an 18-carat gold control pad as well as either African blackwood or white gold for the main body. Its frame is only 1.5 inches square and 0.4 inches thick. The lack of a screen doesn't preclude features, Gresso claims: the 1GB of flash stores MP3, OGG, and WMA songs, as well as an FM radio for live shows.
The Russian firm intends to ship four versions of the Symphonia across the globe, with prices ranging from $4,000 for a version with blackwood and white gold to $6,500 for a model made entirely of pink gold. Every version should be available during Spring. [via Gizmag]
Sony may have inadvertently previewed two of the Cyber-shot cameras it will introduce at next month's PMA expo, according to leaked information posted at online stores. Both the W80 and W90 should top the W70 in the point-and-shoot camera line, with the W90 boosting the sensor depth of the W70 and W80 from 7.2 to 8.1 megapixels. Both of the newer cameras have 3X optical zoom lenses, 2.5-inch LCDs, and extreme ISO modes as high as 3200 for reducing blur at night or in fast-motion shots.
The key differences between models will be sensors and memory, according to the leaks: beyond sharper imagery, the W90 will also sport 56MB of internal memory instead of the W80's 31MB. The higher-end model is expected to ship in black or silver for €349 ($458) in Europe by March, and should be available in North America as well. The simpler W80 will follow in late April for €280 ($368).
BenQ has just grown its notebook range by launching the Joybook A52. The notebook is consciously designed for style and takes its cue from the black finish of a piano. The keyboard itself is designed to recall the instrument and has its key springs tuned for an exacting feel, BenQ adds. The improved aesthetics don't come burdened with premium components, according to the company. The 15.4-inch portable is equipped with a base 1.73GHz Core Duo, 512MB of RAM, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, and 60GB of storage; higher-end versions ship with faster CPUs, a DVD-RW drive, and up to a 120GB hard disk. All versions come with Windows Vista Home Basic and should be available soon throughout Asia and Europe, though pricing remains unknown. [via MobileWhack]
EMobile today jumpstarted its young cell service by introducing the Sharp S01SH, nicknamed the EM ONE. Although driven by Windows Mobile 5, the small UMPC shifts its attention to data over calls. Built-in HSDPA connects the handheld at up to 3.6Mbps anywhere the provider can offer 3G wireless access; internal 802.11g gives potentially faster Internet access when close to a Wi-Fi hotspot. The S01SH is also one of the few mobile devices to use NVIDIA's GoForce 5500 chipset for better 3D and movie playback on the system's sharp 800x480, 4.1-inch widescreen. Equally rare is the presence of a 1.3-megapixel camera at the back for capturing photos and video.
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