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Sharp complemented today's launch of its new AQUOS sets by introducing a new, high-end home theater. In contrast to most all-in-one kits, the BD-MPC70 is built to give avid movie fans every component needed beyond the TV itself. At the core is a hybrid Blu-Ray player and 1-bit digital amplifier: the single device both plays the next-generation discs at their native 1080p when linked through HDMI and powers any sound system linked through either the dual analog or digital outputs.
The speakers bundled with the MPC70 are also designed to transcend other pack-ins, Sharp claims. A full 7.1-channel system puts out 175W of power, enough to drive the surround sound in any movie. The Japanese electronics maker will ship the entire assembly after its AQUOS sets arrive, delivering the combo for $8,339 on June 25th. Its North American counterpart is possible but remains unofficial.
GlobalTop plans to make its presence felt at next month's CeBIT expo by revealing the GPS HUD Speed Meter, a different approach to using GPS. The gumstick-sized adapter is designed chiefly to reduce the dangers of looking away from road to check vital information. Speed, headings, and other vital information about the car's progress are displayed on the windscreen instead of a separate display, keeping the driver's eyes fixed ahead. Onboard Bluetooth also sets up the Speed Meter as an impromptu GPS receiver, pairing wirelessly with a cellphone or other GPS devices to bring live mapping to handhelds with the right software.
Full details should be available by the time the device is unveiled at CeBIT. Exact launch plans are unknown but are likely to be handled through third-party companies that ship the GlobalTop's device under their own names. [via DigitalReviews.net]
A young startup named Shafetech has launched its first full line of computers, ranging from desktops to notebooks. The company claims that its systems distance themselves from others by shipping preloaded with Ubuntu Linux 6, providing easy access to the open-source OS without the often difficult barrier of installing software or drivers. Systems are relatively expensive and include the Echo ($849), a 15.4-inch widescreen notebook with a base 1.46GHz Celeron M, 60GB hard disk and DVD/CD-RW drive; the system can be custom-configured with up to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, a 100GB hard disk and a DVD rewriter. Desktops, in turn, begin with the $299 Apollo, driven by a 2.66GHz Celeron D and an 80GB hard drive. A 17-inch desktop replacement notebook and desktops based on the Core 2 Duo and Athlon 64 X2 are also available.
Every system with a Core 2 Duo or Athlon 64 X2 system can be configured with a 64-bit version of Ubuntu to take advantage of their more advanced instruction sets. Systems also ship with a full year's warranty despite the relatively uncommon OS, the firm says. All six of its systems are available today. [via Digg, pricing may be suspect]
Venturing away from its familiar territory of headsets, Jabra has revealed its first dedicated speaker system. Named the J5010, the system has been co-developed by Klipsch to play music from just about any portable music device: in addition to the typical 3.5mm headphone jack, Jabra's speakers have connections for both 2.5mm and mini-USB plugs -- ensuring that almost any cellphone can play its music from the 30-watt stereo. A source selector means that the two devices can hook into the speakers at once, Jabra and Klipsch say. A cradle keeps an attached device readily in sight while it plays.
Jabra hopes to ship the J5010 before the end of March for $149. [via Music Gizmos]
Retailer TigerGPS appears to have accidentally announced three new navigation products by Magellan. Forming a new Maestro line, all three have 4.3-inch, WQVGA (432x240) touchscreens, and other features such as SiRFStar III receivers and turn-by-turn voice direction. The base model is the 4000; the 4040 adds Bluetooth, text-to-speech and better NAVTEQ maps, as well as optional traffic data. The top of the line is the 4050, which bundles the traffic kit, and further introduces voice recognition. The systems should ship in April for $370, $470 and $650 respectively. [via GPS Gazette]
Viacom today announced a breakthrough deal for Joost, the peer-to-peer TV service developed by the team responsible for Kazaa and Skype. The new development will see some of Viacom's better-known videos make their way to the currently free Internet service, including shows from BET and MTV as well as complete movies from Paramount. The deal was made possible by the inherent nature of the system, which is ad-supported and stores no permanent copies on a viewer's drive. The terms of the deal weren't revealed by either company, but the transaction is just one of multiple high-profile contracts coming in the next few weeks, a Joost spokesman said. The deal is the first Viacom has reached for freely available videos on the Internet since the firm failed to land a deal with YouTube and subsequently had over 100,000 copyrighted clips pulled from the website.
Joost is currently running an invitation-only beta which began in January for Windows users and should be complete later this year. A Mac version of the beta appeared on Sunday.
Australian company Cylo's new mouse is the 3style, designed for those who need an extra axis of movement control. It can be used as a traditional two-axis mouse, but the jogwheel on top can rapidly scroll through a third, whether it be the progress bar in a video editor or the Z axis in a 3D renderer. The wheel can also be set to adjust any object under the cursor, such as a knob in a software mixing console. To left-click users push down on the wheel, whereas right-clicks are done with a squeeze, and the middle-click button is the wheel's dimple. A fourth control, the "orientate" button, can be used to set the Y axis in whatever direction a user wants. Cylo has just finished developing the 3style, so prices and release dates have yet to be established.
Japan's Century has just revealed the Dolphin, a portable jukebox crafted specifically for wet environments. The aluminum body and the in-canal earbuds alike are completely immersible up to 3.3 feet, allowing most swimmers at the beach or pool to listen to music underwater. The player is also handy for skiiers and any exercise in rain or snow, Century is keen to point out. An elastic band mount will keep the tube-like base unit attached to a swimming cap or a snowboarder's goggles, where it can run for up to 8 hours on a full charge.
A single model exists with 1GB of flash storage for MP3 or WMA songs transferred from Macs and Windows PCs, and currently ships in Japan for $107. [via Far East Gizmos]
The Japanese division of Maxell is about to launch three new webcams, the first from the company to be certified for Windows Vista. At the low end are the PM8 and PM9, which are fairly standard 0.3 megapixel (640x480) models, except that the 9 (pictured) has an unusual "neck" which lets it swing out wide from its resting place. The high-end PM10 sits at the top of a monitor, as with most webcams, but is graced with a 1.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and has autofocus capabilities. The cameras should be out in Japan tomorrow at an "open" price, dictated by retailers.
LG boosted its W1 notebook PC line today by unveiling the W1PRO DUAL. The 17-inch portable is one of the few outside of Asia to support digital TV tuning and will pick up HD over-the-air broadcasts in DVB-T form -- including the 5.1 Dolby Surround audio on certain channels. The use of Vista Home Premium automatically transforms the desktop replacement into a personal video recorder for capturing favorite shows.
Performance is strong to match, with either a 1.83GHz or 2GHz Core 2 Duo for a processor and a 256MB Mobility Radeon X1600 onboard for accelerating 3D and movies at the system's native 1680x1050. Weight is also less of a concern at a manageable 6.8 pounds, LG notes. The new leader of LG's notebooks will be available soon in Australia for $2,600 US and should make its way to other regions that support DVB-T soon. [via Gizmag]
Record label EMI confirmed today that it has been approached for a possible takeover by the Warner Music Group, a move which could have serious ramifications for the future of digital rights management (DRM). While Warner has vehemently opposed the easing of DRM, recently proposed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, sources have suggested that EMI might be the first major label to let third-party sites sell its music without any DRM whatsoever. An acquisition by Warner could effectively quash any such effort. According to the Associated Press however, such concerns may be premature: an EMI statement reads that there is "no proposal currently for the EMI board consider," and likewise, a merger between the music groups of Sony and Bertelsmann was recently blocked by the European Court. The Court might well oppose a Warner-EMI merger due to monopoly concerns, since the combined company would control 25 percent of the worldwide market.
LG is working on an updated version of its distinctive Shine slider, according to Czech site iDNES. Called the KE970, the updated version will boost the all-metal phone's Internet access to support HSDPA for connecting as quickly as 3.6Mbps. A VGA camera will also be hidden inside the display bezel to enable video calls on these faster networks. Other changes will be slight but should involve 512MB of onboard storage to help store music and video without resorting to microSD cards.
The 3G wireless edition of the Shine is expected to reach Europe by the second half of this year. LG hasn't indicated whether or not it will bring a GSM version of the Shine to the US, though the standard 2G version is more likely.
A new wireless USB modem from AnyDATA is claimed to be the "smallest and fastest" in the world. The ADU-610 taps into UMTS and HSDPA phone networks, delivering 3G download speeds as high as 7.2Mbps, which is often faster than local cable service. Where networks are mired at 2.5G, speeds scale back to a more conventional 384Kbps. The size of the modem meanwhile is small enough to fit on a keychain, coming in at 3.7 inches long and 0.4 inches thick. Other advantages to the 610 include support for 900 and 1,800MHz GSM networks, and an internal antenna and battery. The product is currently being sold in Korea through a national phone carrier, but should eventually ship overseas.
Lexar kicked off its releases in advance of PMA 2007 today by delivering a pair updates to its card readers for pro photographers. Completely new is the Professional UDMA FireWire 800 Reader (pictured), the company's first reader to support Ultra Direct Memory Access CompactFlash cards. The new 300X CF standard reduces the memory latency to create an exceptional boost in performance: Lexar claims a minimum 45MB per second write speed and transfer times cut in half compared to the previous 133X ceiling. The reader is stackable for multiple simultaneous transfers and depends on a faster FireWire 800 port for its connections. It should be available in April for $80.
A dual-slot reader and photos are available after the break.
Verizon has begun selling the Treo 700wx, the second American carrier to do so after Alltel. The key upgrade to the wx over the w is RAM, which doubles from 32 to 64MB. The phone in general is well-appointed, with a 240x240 touchscreen, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and Bluetooth support that includes stereo headsets. An SD slot supports cards up to 2GB in size, which can be used to run music, photos and video. Under Verizon's pricing plan, the wx costs $400 with a two-year contract and a $100 online discount.
Sharp on Tuesday released an almost unprecedented seventeen LCD TVs in anticipation of Spring. A full dozen of these occupy the company's AQUOS D line and are highlighted by the LC-32DS1 line (shown), one of the first-ever 32-inch LCDs with a 1080p screen for native playback of HD movies or the latest consoles. Design also takes center stage, according to Sharp: black, white, and a new red tint help match the sets to their chosen environments. These and the 720p LC-32DS10 sets will each have digital TV tuners, dual HDMI inputs, and a 2,000:1 static contrast ratio. Sharp hopes to deliver the D10 first, shipping it to Japan by March 10th along with similarly-equipped 26-inch and 20-inch models. The DS1 will appear on May 10th. Most if not all models are expected in North America.
Read on for details and a photo of the flagship AQUOS R series.
AMD this morning updated its Athlon 64 with chips at both the high and low ends of the spectrum. Most signficant, says the company, are its new low-power, single-core Athlon 64 3500+ and 3800+ chips. These are the first-ever AMD chips to be made on a 65-nanometer process and consume only 45W of power on average, lower still than Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop models. The reduced power not only saves money, but also lets the CPU fit into small form factor PCs without noisy cooling fans. AMD is already shipping either model at prices of $88 and $93 in bulk.
Nikon today commemorated both the 10th anniversary of its Coolpix line and the upcoming PMA expo with a major update to its mainstream cameras. At the peak is the P5000 (pictured), a bridge between point-and-shoots and entry-level digital SLRs. The 10-megapixel camera benefits from its larger fixed lens through a 3.5X optical zoom; Nikon has also catered to more serious photographers by adding a hotshoe for an external flash and converter attachments for either telephoto or wide-angle shots. Optical stabilization and a special 5-megapixel, ISO 3200 shooting mode are there to help take better photos in active or low-light scenes, Nikon says. The P5000 supports SDHC cards for storage larger than 2GB and ships in March for $400.
Details and photos of the rest of the updates follow after the jump.
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