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One of the entries in the current Next-Gen PC Design Competition (held by Microsoft and the Industrial Designers of America) is the Yummy Kitchen Connect, which would use a touchscreen, a barcode scanner and Internet access to to handle everything related to meal planning. The Yummy would be given your diet and favorite recipes, and from there make recommendations based on current pantry stock, which would be scanned in when it was brought home. Shopping lists could be created automatically, and new guides and recipes could be located online. Public voting in the competition is now underway; browse the site to see rival devices.
ABS' Mayhem Blackhawk may not be the most powerful gaming laptop, but at 3.8 pounds, it is lighter than many. It uses a 14.1-inch screen, and by default comes with a DVD burner, Vista Home Premium, and a 256MB GeForce Go 7600. Stock memory is low, but the system can be customized to have 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Likewise, the 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor can be upgraded to a 2.33GHz chip. Minor features include multiple card readers, 802.11a/b/g wireless, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an optional Bluetooth module. A fully-equipped Blackhawk can be ordered today for just over $2,000.
Philips has begun offering the DCP850. The Dutch firm says its latest entry into portable DVD players adapts to the increasing shift towards hard drive and flash players by including more than just DVD storage. A slot next to the disc drive docks with any fifth-generation iPod to play its video on the much larger 8.5-inch LCD and stereo speakers, resting perfectly flush with the case to let the iPod stay inside the player for the entirety a trip. An SD reader on the side will load DivX and MPEG-4 movies. The optical reader is also intelligent enough to support MP3 CDs, VCDs, and SVCDs.
The handheld video player is just now reaching the market ahd should be available in the US for $250. [via Technabob]
Sanyo has made the unusual decision of releasing the MAJ-U02, a boombox that merges old technology with new. The silver boombox is capable of playing media dating back to cassette tapes but also includes an SD card reader and a USB port for reading MP3s from flash drives, iPods, and other external storage. Formats in between are handled by a CD player and a digitally-controlled FM radio tuner. An optical audio output will also stream whatever might be playing to a larger home stereo.
Amazon UK lists the Sanyo portable as shipping now for $253 -- American availability, however, is unknown. [via Coolest Gadgets]
Facing a probe from the Connecticut Attorney General's office, Best Buy has admitted that the site customers see in the store is not the same as the Internet website. The issue has come to the fore due to the Hartford Courant's George Gombossy, who confirmed a tip that Best Buy uses an intranet made to resemble the real website, but with artificially higher prices. The company has allegedly used this intranet to deny discounts to in-store customers, though a representative disputes this, saying the intranet was never meant to deceive people. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has complained about the investigation's progress meanwhile, noting that "their [Best Buy's] responses seem to raise as many questions as they answer."
US federal judge Rudi Brewster today dismissed a controversial Alcatel-Lucent patent claim against Microsoft regarding speech recognition. Issuing a summary judgment, Brewster said that Microsoft hadn't infringed on the French-American company's patents, saving the former from a potentially damaging court case. Alcatel-Lucent said it would appeal the decision.
The reprieve may offer a glimmer of hope to Microsoft. The company was handed a defeat in an MP3 lawsuit just a week before but could now point to today's win as a reason to overturn the earlier decision.
Freestyle Audio has introduced its simply-titled Digital Music Player, calling it the world's first truly waterproof MP3 device. The main unit and its custom in-canal earbuds can be submerged completely in depths of up to ten feet for as long as the listener can stay in the water. A locking synch on the cables keeps them close to the body, preventing tangles during a swim; appropriately, wearers can use the included armband or lanyard to hold the player steady. The internal battery lasts for up to 40 hours on a single charge.
Three models have been released, with either 256MB ($140), 512MB ($170), or 1GB ($200) of flash memory to store MP3 music. Freestyle says every version should be available today. [via CrunchGear]
Researchers have developed a breakthrough light-absorbing material, Rennselaer Polytechnic announced yesterday. The New York state school has successfully created a near perfect anti-reflective optical coating (shown at left) using angled silica nanorods on top of an aluminum nitride layer. The result all but stops light from refracting as it hits the surface: light either passes through unchanged or is completely absorbed.
Although too fragile to be used in the wet, the invention could result in much more efficient use of light, scientists say. Solar cells could receive much more light, while LEDs and other sources could become 'smarter' by having complete control over the amount of light that escapes. No production plans yet exist but should come within the next few years. [via ZDNet]
While the current focus of attention may be the DUO and its iPod integration, another TomTom GPS receiver at the FCC is the ONE XL. Based on the current ONE, it should have fairly conventional features such as Bluetooth, and SD slot and 32MB of RAM, but will also have a much larger screen, possibly as big as five to seven inches versus the basic ONE's 3.5 inches. The screen ratio has also shifted to widescreen from a standard 4:3. Since the device is still waiting for approval from the FCC, no costs or timeframes have been published.
Toshiba today brought its handheld DV cameras into 2007 with the Gigashot V10(T). The new recorder combines an already unique 4GB, 0.85-inch micro hard drive with support for SDHC cards, letting the user add another 4GB or more of storage for extra-long clips. Software is also new in the update, Toshiba says. Beyond existing Mac and Windows XP support, the updated Gigashot is ready for Windows Vista and bundles with a custom program titled PowerProducer for editing movies and authoring DVDs.
Pricing is unavailable; however, the camera goes on sale in Japan by March 9th with a dark titanium color scheme and is likely to reach Toshiba's American division in coming months.
Korean design firm SDesignUnit recently developed the Music in the Rain, an original concept for listening to music. Four wafer-thin speakers in its fabric will play songs as long as the umbrella is open. Navigating tracks is also simple, the creative outlet claims: spinning the umbrella will skip forward and backwards through tracks. The system will also work at home by hanging on a cradle with a built-in speaker.
The concept recently won the iF Design Award and will likely lead to production models from companies outside of SDesignUnit and its home country, but has yet to receive a definite commitment from a manufacturer. [via Popgadget]
Distributing primarily to Europe, German company Grundig has announced a new business-oriented smartphone, the Linux-based B700. It's a quad-band GSM phone with EDGE broadband, and has other modern features as well, such as a push e-mail client, a two-megapixel camera, and a 2.4-inch QVGA screen. It plays AAC and MP3 audio, and can also play and record video. Unusual for a business phone is the inclusion of an FM radio tuner. Internal storage amounts to 100MB, but can be expanded through a microSD slot. The phone does not yet have pricing or release dates attached, but it is unlikely to reach North America.
Ending a longstanding feud, Immersion and Sony together announced that they had reached a settlement over the alleged misuse of Immersion's vibration patent in Sony's Dual Shock controllers. While the exact level of compensation will remain secret, the companies revealed that Sony has agreed to accept Immersion's demands, which included paying the full amount granted to the force feedback device maker in 2004 as well as court costs and damages.
Japanese maker Buffalo has introduced a new USB 2.0 mouse with an atypical control scheme. In place of the scrollwheel, the BOMU-JK/M substitutes a direction pad, reminiscent of that on gamepad controllers for consoles. While it reduces the ability to scroll in any direction, users can simply hold an arrow down to keep scrolling in a single direction, which may reduce repeated strain on joints and muscles. The mouse is Vista compatible, and is being sold in silver or black for 3,320 yen ($28). Any custom configuration requires a Japanese operating system.
Uniden on Friday made its initial foray into the GPS business by releasing a pair of GPS receivers. Both the 4-inch GPS402 (shown) and 3.5-inch GPS352 are built to be used immediately without a software sync and come preloaded with complete maps of Canada and the US -- including the sometimes neglected regions of Alaska and Hawaii, Uniden adds. The finer aspects of navigation are also addressed with an unusually large 4 million points of interest spread across both countries. Either model can work outside of a vehicle for up to three hours on a removable battery.
The GPS units are already shipping from Amazon today at prices of $316 for the GPS352 and $378 for the larger GPS402. [via NaviGadget]
Relative unknown device maker Shiro said this week that it hopes to break into the rapidly expanding world of flash-based video players with three new models tailored to different sizes and tastes. The Shiro MK (pictured), ME, and VE will all have support for video in addition to the now universal support for MP3, WAV, and WMA songs. Significantly, however, all three will also have a card slot for extra storage. The thicker 2GB MK will have an SD slot for potentially doubling its available space, Shiro says; though slimmer, the 4GB ME and VE players will use cellphone-oriented miniSD and microSD cards respectively. Extra details and photos of the trio follow after the break.
Where once photo backup was limited to small drives with tiny LCDs, or none at all, products like the Aska Tripper V now rival competing media players. The 4.3-inch LCD supports resolutions up to 800x480, and there are four different drive capacities, ranging from 40 to 160GB. Slots are present for both CF and SD cards. When not being used on assignment or at home, the Tripper can also play MPEG-4 video, or AAC and MP3 audio files. The 80, 120 and 160GB models cost between 49,980 and and 79,800 yen ($425-679) and will ship March 12th; the 40GB drive is coming in early April for 39,900 yen ($340).
The BBC today announced that it had struck a landmark deal with YouTube to put a large amount of its content on the video streaming site. The first such international agreement of its kind will see the Google-owned network host short segments of the British broadcaster's programming that vary by channel, the BBC says. The already launched BBC channel will host show commentary and behind the scenes footage; an upcoming channel, BBC News, will in turn give viewers outside the UK an opportunity to see news reports previously available only on the BBC's website.
Meizu's notorious miniOne will borrow even more directly from the iPhone's interface than expected while trimming prices, according to a forum post made by the company's president. The touchscreen handset will have both contact lists and text messages virtually inseparable from the Apple original, including minor elements such as the side column of letters for faster navigation. Click through for prices and interface images after the break.
Seeking to separate its phone lineup from the crowd, KTF has announced the EV-W100. The slider connects to HSDPA networks and has the increasingly prevalent front camera for video calls, but uses the technology to give callers an edge in privacy. A special lip-sync program replaces the video footage with an avatar on the recipient's end, matching the movement of the character's lips to the caller's voice. Ordinary male and female characters can be chosen alongside 'fun' stand-ins such as pigs or gorillas.
Other touches of the half-inch thick phone include a 2-megapixel camera, a 330,000 word dictionary, and stereo Bluetooth audio. The phone sells in its home country for under $425. A profile shot follows after the jump.
The Zune is gaining traction in the US market, NPD results have revealed. The research firm's January 2007 marketshare figures put the Microsoft-designed player at 9.9 percent of all hard drive music players sold in the country, a sharp jump from the 9.0 percent reported in the player's first month. While the NPD study is said to be an incomplete survey of stores and covers only a portion of all music players, the data points to a stable foundation for the young device.
The analyst group also noted that the Zune Marketplace grew much more quickly than expected, with a 60 percent increase in subscriptions to the unlimited-access Zune Pass service and a 65 percent climb in the number of individual songs bought through Microsoft's music store. [via Zune Insider]
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