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Apple is planning on airing a commercial for the iPhone during Sunday's Oscars presentation, according to anonymous sources. Apple has allegedly devised a teaser ad made specifically with the movie awards ceremony in mind. Little else about the campaign was revealed in the apparent leak, however.
Although best-known for its symbolic 1984 Super Bowl ad, Apple has typically shied away from producing single-run TV spots since then, preferring instead to begin longer campaigns at significant but lower-profile events. The commercial would also come months in advance of the actual release, a rarity for the California company. [via MacWorld]
Space in Japanese homes can be extremely slim, prompting the creation of computers like the MiniPC GF800. At its longest the case is only nine inches, and it's also just 2.6 inches tall. Accessories do match however, as graphics come from an Intel 945GM Express motherboard, which is further capped at 2GB of RAM. Benefits to the computer include a DVD burner, SATA and eSATA ports, and three video output jacks: DVI, S-Video, and D-SUB/VGA. The base cost of the GF800 is roughly 71,732 yen ($592), but does not factor in the CPU -- buyers must choose between a Celeron, Core Solo, Core Duo, or Core 2 Duo.
Citizen today updated its VIRT smart watches with a new version of the W700. The tweaked design is friendlier, the company says, shipping in a much intimidating blue or pink with softer design cues and larger buttons. Bluetooth its still its central focus, however. Pairing with a nearby cellphone lets it display caller ID and vibrate for an incoming call, saving the time of fishing the phone out of a pocket. The wristwatch charges through a dock and displays information on an OLED for better visibility.
As is often the case with Japanese-made electronics, Citizen hasn't revealed the price. The firm expects to launch the watch for the island nation in mid-March; a US equivalent to the W700 is possible, but unconfirmed. [via Gizmodo]
HTC has submitted a new Pocket PC phone to the FCC, the Gene 100. Most notable is the absence of a keypad, which -- like the Apple iPhone -- follows the increasing trend of relying exclusively on a touchscreen for major functions. There are a few physical buttons however, such a direction pad, and basic navigation options. Also notable is the use of a full-sized SD slot, where many competitors rely on microSD. The phone has an otherwise standard assortment of features, such as Bluetooth, a two-megapixel camera, and quad-band GSM. EDGE broadband is a possibility. In spite of its GSM support, it's unknown whether the phone will actually be sold in North America.
Korea's I.dear has begun shipping its simple Wood Speaker. Conceived of as a way to add better externalized sound to just about any device, the 1.5-watt speaker is just over an inch tall and uses its wooden shape both to set it apart visually and to ruggedize it for a bag or pocket: I.dear builds in a key ring and encourages owners to chain the Wood Speaker to a cellphone, PSP, or other gadget for the occasional speakerphone call or music broadcast. The cuboid speaker isn't dependent on its host and will last for up to 5 hours on a single charge, rejuvenating through a USB connection.
Fun Shop currently lists I.dear's miniature audio system for $25. [via Red Ferret Journal]
Italian designer Pietroguerra has just introduced the premium FleX 4.2 home theater PC. Its entire focus is as a complement to a luxury stereo or TV setup, including the shape itself: a hinged design either lays flat to stack the computer with other AV equipment, or folds in half to create a smaller footprint in vertically crowded spaces. Dual Bang & Olufsen amplifiers also boost the computer's sound as high as 400W and will work even when the PC is switched off. The FleX can be built with an IR receiver to work with other B&O equipment and has the option of as many as three digital or hybrid TV tuners.
The system is available today as a custom-assembled system with price varying by needs: a base model ships for $2,849 with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 250GB hard drive, and no TV tuners. [via CrunchGear]
Samsung today officially announced a major improvement to GDDR4 memory, its latest approach to RAM for graphics cards. The Korean firm said it had used a smaller, 80-nanometer process at its factories to reach an unprecedented 2GHz effective speed, two-thirds better than what can be found in the fastest video cards today. The 4Gbps of bandwidth created by the faster RAM should help improve both the amount of 3D detail in games and the ability to handle large-scale video editing, Samsung added.
The enhanced memory is already available to video card makers for testing and should be in production graphics cards soon afterwards. ATI's Radeon X2000 series and NVIDIA's sequel to the GeForce 8800 are expected in or near March and are strong first candidates to use the new chips.
Sharp on Friday unveiled the HN-IR1, a simple gateway for streaming photos to TVs. Instead of relying on networking and storage of its own, the device uses an IR receiver to transmit images from a cellphone, notebook, or other portables with their own IR port. The IR1's signal is fast enough to broadcast the images even at the 1080p resolution of capable sets. Sharp adds that the adapter can also be plugged directly into its AQUOS recorders or any other set-top burner for creating photo albums.
The price should make the HN-IR1 a viable alternative to networked media hubs when it goes on sale April 25th in Japan for $116.
Most cellphone users would only be willing to investigate the iPhone if the asking price drops, according to a just-published survey. Research firm Compete Inc. gauged the reactions of 379 people to the Apple device, and noted that while 26 percent of those polled would like to own an iPhone, only a single percent that smaller group was willing to commit to the $499 price announced in January. However, that latter figure jumped to 42 percent when the price was dropped to $299 or less, Compete said. Most of the respondents were already aware of the iPhone and had at least investigated buying an iPod in the past.
Figures climbed higher still when subjects were asked about switching carriers. A majority -- 60 percent -- of those interested in the iPhone were willing to switch to AT&T to own the handset when the price was right, the survey said.
As the prices of flash memory continue to fall, drives such as Adtron's new 160GB Flashpak become more practical. It's a 2.5-inch solid-state disc, and is available with either IDE or SATA connections. Its most impressive aspect is of course its speed, since the SATA version can read and write at 65 and 55MB/s, while the IDE drive is even faster at 70 and 60MB/s. The disc also comes with Adtron's EraSure Clear and Sanitize programs to enable government-level security. Because it's targeted at professionals, interested parties must contact Adtron directly.
A US District Court has ruled against Canon in a lawsuit over SED TV technology, Reuters reports. The suit was filed by the Texas-based Nano-Proprietary, who signed a license agreement with Canon in 1999, giving the latter the technology needed to enter the flatscreen TV market. Nano charges that this agreement was violated in 2004, when Canon began sharing the technology in an SED partnership with Toshiba. SED sets are similar to current plasma and LCD TVs, but have brighter pictures while consuming less power. Canon had hoped to demonstrate the technology at January's Consumer Electronics Show, but unspecified delays prevented this from happening.
At least one of Samsung's Ultra phones is destined for the US, an anonymous photo set has revealed. Although tentatively confirmed through an FCC filing that revealed just the skeleton of the player, the F300 (better known as the Ultra Music) was all but confirmed from images taken at a company meeting as heading to Sprint. The unique, double-faced phone will be rebadged as the M620 and support Sprint's CDMA network but should otherwise remain close in spirit to the Korean version.
The presentation didn't reveal a launch price, but did reveal an April release window, according to the source. Two mysterious phones known as the Pro 700 and 800 were also revealed but were not associated with a particular cellphone maker, with photos revealing only the ruggedized nature of the 700. Click through for key photos. [via SlashPhone]
French cellphone maker Sagem claims to have developed the smallest headset available for Bluetooth-equipped cellphones. The simply-named H4 measures less than 1.4 inches at its greatest length, making it a more discreet option for hands-free calls. The size doesn't preclude including features from larger earpieces and has the ability to call either of the wearer's two favorite numbers either through a button press or voice activation. Battery life is still capable at 5 hours and recharges as quickly as 1.5 hours.
The H4 currently sells throughout Europe for €79 ($104). [via Pocket-lint]
Motorola's RIZR Z3 will finally launch in the US next month, according to a leaked product sheet. The RAZR-inspired slider is now set to arrive first with T-Mobile, becoming available on March 12th. Although no pricing has been made available, the phone will keep all of the features promised when the phone was first announced: a 2-megapixel camera, a quad-band GSM radio with EDGE mobile broadband, and music playback with support for stereo Bluetooth headphones. A 128MB microSD card will be bundled with T-Mobile's edition.
Revealed at the same time as the flip-phone KRZR in mid-2006, the RIZR has been inexplicably delayed, receiving FCC approval as soon as October and an Oscar-linked introduction that refrained from mentioning any specific providers. [via Engadget]
Seeking to liven normally utilitarian world of backup drives, Thecus today launched the N2050. Sold as a media backup drive enclosure for avid music and video collectors, the box is one of the fastest and most flexible backup options for everyay users, according to the company. Two drives up to 500GB are stacked in the black-and-white case in a RAID array in either a faster striped setup or a safer mirror. An external SATA connector and bundled PCI card help the N2050BD reach its full speed; two USB 2.0 ports are also built-in for more universal access, including daisy-chaining extra drives or other peripherals.
The enclosure ships in Japan on March 1st for $163, while drives are sold separately to let owners buy only as much storage as they need. Thecus operates outside of Japan and may make the new drive available in North America.
Siren has unveiled the latest version of the DP100. The basic MP3 player takes a cue from Apple's first-generation iPod shuffle by incorporating its own lanyard slot, letting the player hang freely from the neck without needing a separate attachment or cap. The device beats its rivals in terms of sheer features, according to the company's claims. Holding a relativlely large 2GB of MP3, WAV, or WMA music, the player also has a two-color OLED for choosing songs. Battery life is also longer than average for the class at 18 hours.
The 2GB version of the DP100 officially begins sales on February 26th in Japan at a price of $82, competing closely Apple's device. A US release hasn't been announced.
Microsoft on Thursday was ordered to pay just over $1.5 billion in damages to Alcatel-Lucent for violating two MP3 patents with its Windows operating system, opening the door for similar lawsuits and future royalty payments by other companies such as Apple, Yahoo!, Dell, Toshiba, RealNetworks, and others. A federal jury in San Diego found that Microsoft violated MP3 patents held by Lucent, although Microsoft both claimed during the trial it used unrelated technologies and that the Lucent patents were invalid. The ruling, if upheld, could be one of the largest patent awards in history.
Separate developer groups have claimed ownership of related MP3 patents, causing confusion and chaos in the licensing of MP3. The verdict today, however, could affect a number of companies who believe they have already licensed related patents for the decoding and encoding of MP3 files.
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