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Google's heavily rumored Switch phone could break the mold of phone service in the US, according to a source speaking with venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov. Claiming that the alleged phone is real based on both the source and recent Google buyouts, Simeonov says that the web developer has found a way to get normally hostile carriers to allow the Switch to be sold for multiple US cell providers. Instead of forging exclusive deals, Google would take on the burden of marketing its device. The networks would only have to fulfill the orders, the financier said.
Siemens' GPS branch, VDO Dayton, has just launched the PN 3000. Sheer flexibility breaks it away from rivals, according to its creator. The 4.3-inch system is small enough to work as a handheld for up to four hours but can also be installed in a car's central column as a permanent fixture. More extras than average are available as well, the company says, with an Arkanoid-style game named Blockbuster and Sudoku complementing the more common JPEG viewer and MP3 player. International travel is also better than usual with up to 21 written languages (including UK and US English) as well as voice navigation for most regions.
The PN 3000 should be available now in Europe at prices of $615, $655, and $720 depending on the addition of features such as a special Traffic Message Channel for road conditions and Bluetooth for hands-free calls. [via GPS Gazette]
Home theater enthusiasts typically need furniture and electronics to go with their TV, both of which are amply supplied by the Ambisound HTS8100 by Philips. The top of the shelf holds an LCD or plasma set off the ground, and inside are five separate speakers, which are used to simulate 5.1 surround sound. The unit also has a built-in amplifier, and contains a DVD player which is 1080p-compatible and uses HDMI output. The trade-off, of course, is that users may have to replace the 8100 entirely if they want to swap out select components. The product is due in the second quarter of the year for $999.
The virtual network operator Amp'd is about to receive its own version of the Motorola Q, a user guide (PDF) inadvertently posted to the company's website. The variant headed to the media-obsessed carrier is expected to follow the same design as the Moto Q Black that launched last year but will shift its attention to music and video, supporting all the downloadable and streaming media available through the provider's EVDO Internet connection.
The manual unveils little else about the phone, which should be available very soon, but does confirm earlier rumors that the Q would be the first smartphone to ship for Amp'd. The last addition to the network was a custom edition of the RAZR released in October. [via Engadget]
Cowon's touchscreen D2 media player is about to receive an official upgrade that changes its control scheme dramatically, according to an official forum update [improved translation]. The update will introduce a new interface dubbed "virtual motion" that lets owners scroll through media by flicking a finger across the screen in any of the cardinal directions, replicating similar controls developed by Apple for the iPhone.
The abilities of the player itself have also seen an overhaul, Cowon adds. SDHC support lets the mini jukebox more than double its 4GB of flash with larger-capacity SD cards. Those who listen to digital radio can also see photos that accompany the broadcasts.
Creators of the ubiquitous BlackBerry, Research In Motion has suffered a double blow as a result of continuing probes into stock backdating. The first is the voluntary resignation of co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who was involved in approving stock grants after the company's IPO in 1997; the second is a planned restatement of finances, which will reach as far back as fiscal 2004 and cut earnings down by $250 million. No other employees are likely to be forced out.
While RIM convened its own committee, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been formally investigating a number of companies for backdating, including the likes of Activision and Dell. The accusation is that executives have been giving artificial dates for their stock options, inflating their value at the cost of the rest of the company. This strategy is not necessarily illegal, but it must be fully disclosed to avoid fraud charges. [via Associated Press]
NVIDIA today provided a long-awaited refresh to its workstation graphics with the Quadro FX 5600, the company's new flagship. A pro version of the GeForce 8800, the chipset borrows the same 128 unified hardware shaders to provide a major speed boost over the earlier 5500. The change also allows the processor to use CUDA technology, NVIDIA says: because of the more generalized hardware, some tasks that would otherwise be handled by the main CPU can be offloaded to the new Quadro instead. Faster, larger 8K by 8K texturing and SLI support for twin cards in one system are also part of the upgrade.
Read through for launch details and hints of imminent use by Apple.
Hong Kong company AMEX Digital has unveiled a pair of new wireless products which may have broad appeal. The TSP-VS501 is a relatively standard Skype phone, having just a keypad and a monochrome LCD, but is built into a wave shape, and has a glossy black faceplate reminiscent of the LG Chocolate. This is more than just superficial as well, as AMEX's Touch Sense technology replicates the springless buttons of the Chocolate. The TSK-VX7, meanwhile, uses Touch Sense for a QWERTY computer keyboard, but also has more conventional buttons for use with Windows Media Center functions such as track control, content selection and the Start menu. Some buttons are also applicable to the Mac OS. To power the VX7, owners must use four AAA batteries, which supply up to two months of typing. [via Akihabara News]
Samsung today announced its first ultra-mobile PC for Windows Vista. Simply titled the Q1P for Windows Vista, the update takes the existing 7-inch handheld and adds Vista Home Premium to improve its Media Center and touchscreen functions. The system is otherwise a match with the company's fastest model, sporting an ultra-low voltage 1GHZ Pentium M, 1GB of memory, and a 60GB hard disk with battery life running to 2.5 hours when using integrated Wi-Fi.
The Vista-equipped version of the Q1P is already due to arrive in stores today for the same price of $1,299. Upgrades to the base Q1 or the flash drive-based Q1P SSD haven't been announced.
Audiophile iPod users may appreciate Roth's upcoming Music Cocoon MC4, which is an amplifier dock that relies on vacuum tubes, said to produce a richer, warmer sound. Roth in fact recommends that owners load lossless files to ensure maximum fidelity. iPods charge as they play. Users are not limited to iPods however, since the rear also has inputs for laptops, CD systems and MP3 players. Because the MC4 is just an amplifier, users must connect their own sets of speakers. Power is rated at 13W, with a frequency response of 20Hz-30KHz, and an output impedance of 8ohm. The dock launches in April for £399 ($776). [via Shiny Shiny]
Panasonic this morning released the KX-WP1050, its first voice-over-IP phone. The handset uses Wi-Fi to connect to any local wireless hotspot that doesn't require a website for access; from there, it can place inbound or outbound Skype calls (including to real-world numbers) without requiring a host PC.
Simplifying the process is a unique router bundled with the phone, Panasonic says: plugging in the small network router to a local Internet connection automatically creates a Wi-Fi access point with 256-bit WPA encryption and a quick recharging station for when the phone's 3 hours of talk time are spent. The 1050 should be available now through Panasonic's online shop and other stores for $400. Click through for a full image.
A third TomTom GPS unit has been discovered at the FCC (after the DUO and ONE XL), this time the Go 715. While it uses Bluetooth to permit hands-free phonecalls, the most remarkable feature is the inclusion of a SIM card slot, which should allow the 715 to make calls without any nearby device. Another highlight is the ability to receive waypoint orders from a remote location, though this is primarily targeted at businesses like couriers and maintenance crews. No timeframe has been laid out for the unit's release. [via GPS Gazette]
Nokia is planning to reveal a new XpressMusic media phone, according to a Czech site's product leak. A higher-end sequel to the 5300, the 5700 XpressMusic will carry over the hallmark music navigation buttons on the side while adding the dual-sided keypad section of the already available 3250. Rotating the controls automatically triggers the camera and exposes relevant buttons.
Little else is known other than the existence of a 2-megapixel sensor for the camera, a 240x320 screen, and UMTS mobile Internet access. However, the upcoming CTIA expo on March 27th may signal the handset's public debut. Click through for the full leaked promo image and the 5700's close relative, the Nokia 3250. [via SlashPhone]
Appearing first in Japan, a pair of new LCD sets from byd:sign may help contribute to lower prices for 1080p sets. The LF-4200DFK is a 42-inch screen, and features 1,200:1 contrast, 500cd/m2 brightness, and a short response time of 6.5ms. A 47-inch model generally maintains the same specifications, but improves the response time by 0.5ms. Both sets are equipped with HDMI ports and digital TV tuners. The 42-inch set is selling for the equivalent of $1,819; the 47-inch runs to $2,241. While these models are strictly Japanese at the moment, byd:sign does sell in the United States, so an import may be possible.
Microsoft today stepped up the size of its Xbox 360 Memory Unit to 512MB, answering one of the frequent demands made for the console. The eightfold increase in storage allows for many more games, media, and save files to be stored on a single card. The new limit also allows Microsoft itself to triple the maximum size of an Xbox Live Arcade game to 150MB for more complex sounds and visuals. A full copy of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved will be preloaded on each card to get owners started.
The 512MB Memory Unit will be available internationally on April 3rd for $50, which will also lower the price of the 64MB unit to $30.
Joining in the series of camera announcements, Ricoh on Monday announced a new camera that it claims sets records. The 7.2-megapixel Caplio R6 is the world's thinnest camera with both high zoom and wide-angle abilities, the camera producer claims. Although 0.8 inches at its thinnest point, miniaturized lens technology provides a 28-200mm (at 35mm equivalent) wide-angle lens with 7.1X optical zoom and promises better landscape images as well as telephoto shots. New to Ricoh is face recognition for auto-adjusting the focus and settings for one or more people in the frame.
Details and a full image can be found after the jump.
As promised, Olympus today launched three new cameras to signal its presence at the PMA expo this week. Two digital SLRs, the E-510 and E-410, each represent major upgrades to the camera maker's semi-pro E-500 and E-400 models with 10-megapixel sensors (increased from 8) and a live LCD preview for composing shots without the viewfinder. A newer TruePic III engine also reduces noise by a full stop at every sensitivity level, including the maximum ISO 1600.
The E-410 will be ready in May for $699; the premium E-510 adds image stabilization and a longer-lasting battery, which dictate its $799 price when it arrives in June. Read on for details of the Stylus 780 and photos of all three cameras.
Photos and details of the BlackBerry 8300 have been leaked online. Nicknamed the "Daytona," the silver handset will be the media-friendly equivalent to the BlackBerry 8800 and should have the best camera of the entire 8000-series so far, shipping with a 2-megapixel sensor, LED flash, and zoom. The camera will also represent the first of its kind in any full-size BlackBerry. Most if not all software improvements will focus on media features: the interface will be closer to the Media Center front-end on PCs, the source says. GPS and a better loudspeaker will also be built-in.
More details and the gallery follow after the break.
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