News Archive for 07/03/06

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TiVo, EarthLink to bundle services

03/06, 5:35pm

TiVo/EarthLink bundle

TiVo and EarthLink have announced that later this year, they will begin bundling some of their products in a complementary discount package. TiVo will of course include its Series2 DVR box, while EarthLink will offer a choice of services, including DSL, dial-up and/or VoIP telephony. The news takes on particular significance because of the recent TiVo deal for Amazon Unbox videos, which requires an Internet-connected computer to transfer videos from. The companies suggest that as a result of the bundle, many more broadband features may be introduced in the future through TiVoCast. Exact package options and release dates have yet to be disclosed to the public.

Olympus launches 555-hour voice recorder, MP3 player

03/06, 4:55pm

Olympus WS-331M

Following its recent cameras, Olympus has also revealed the WS-331M. A voice recorder by nature, the handheld includes three grades of mono or stereo WM recording that lets it capture as much as 555 hours of dialog on its built-in 2GB of flash storage. MP3 and WMA playback, however, turn the device into an impromptu music player with up to 500 songs.

The device is also one of the few to escape the need for a cable or a dock -- as with other recent Olympus models, the 331M opens to connect directly to a computer's USB port for quicker transfers. One AAA battery is enough to power the device for 21 hours. Models should arrive in US stores by April at a price of $200.

Commodore to re-enter PC world with gaming system

03/06, 4:20pm

Commodore Gaming PC

The recently revived Commodore brand today announced that it would at last return to the computer market at CeBIT next week. While keeping silent on most details, the company says it will launch a high-end gaming PC at the Hannover expo, marking a "new chapter in its history" with the design. There will be some 'very exciting' features revealed at the March 15th launch, Commodore says.

The introduction marks thirteen years since the company last produced computers, with the original Commodore computer company shutting its doors in 1994 and remaining largely dormant until the Dutch firm Tulip bought it in 2003. The resurrected Commodore has focused primarily on media jukeboxes such as the Gravel in Pocket until today. [via Pro-G]

AT&T gives phones control over PVRs

03/06, 3:50pm

ATT Homezone Phone PVR

AT&T today introduced phone control for its Homezone service, giving owners a relatively unique option for controlling their TV shows. The new feature takes advantage of the network connection in the Homezone set-top box to let any phone with a WAP 2.0 browser view listings through a special Yahoo portal, and then add or remove shows to the recording schedule. This lets avid TV viewers queue up shows even while commuting home from work. Options will exist in the future for SlingPlayer-like options for viewing content through the cellphone itself.

Using the new technology requires a combination of services, according to AT&T: subscribers must have satellite TV either through AT&T or Dish, as well as the former's DSL and Homezone services. The latter costs $10 per month and includes the new feature as of today. [via News.com]

March to mark Alcatel's in-force US debut

03/06, 3:20pm

Alcatel Hits US in Force

Continuing its phone announcements, Alcatel revealed today that it will finally make a permanent North American presence for its phone line through Cellatel. Although the firm has already garnered some early attention on the continent with its Elle GlamPhone, it now plans to use this month's CTIA phone expo to announce that some of its E- and C-series phones will be available beyon limited trials that were run with Cingular last year.

Specific carriers have yet to be mentioned, but should focus primarily around virtual mobile networks in the vein of Helio -- albeit those that use GSM, Cellatel says. CTIA begins March 27th and should provide more information. [via Phone Scoop]

Alcatel caters to the fashion-conscious with C635

03/06, 2:45pm

Alcatel C635 Fashion Phone

Alcatel today expanded its fashion phone line with the C635. Purple tint with swirls is in keeping with the latest fashion trends, the French cellphone maker claims; at the same time, the phone is geared to essentialist phone users who don't need more than a few key extras, making it accessible to more users. A VGA-resolution camera and Java support for games are its key features, but are bolstered by an exceptional 6.5 hours of active talk time and 320 hours of standby.

The C635 will be available shortly through Virgin Mobile in Britain for $77. Alcatel hasn't indicated whether or not the phone has the necessary GSM band needed to reach the US. [via Tech Digest]

Gigabyte plans dual-GPU notebook, more for CeBIT

03/06, 2:15pm

Gigabyte CeBIT Notebooks

Gigabyte Technology revealed on Tuesday that it would announce several new notebooks in its W line for Germany's CeBIT expo based on Intel's upcoming Santa Rosa platform, which should speed up mobile Core 2 Duo systems with a faster 800MHz data path and other enhancements. Chief among the introductions will be a 17-inch desktop replacement. Though details will remain hidden until next week's event, the large notebook will represent the first "dual graphics card" system, according to Gigabyte; it's unclear, however, as to whether or not the claim actually refers to existing SLI-equipped dual chipset notebooks or hybrid Intel/NVIDIA graphics systems such as Sony's Vaio SZ.

Other additions will include 14- and 15.4-inch notebooks, a 6.5-inch UMPC handheld, and a Power Express battery pack that the Taiwanese firm promises will deliver eight hours of battery life to "any" notebook. Full details should be available when CeBIT begins on March 15th. [via Laptoping]

iCoustic guitars meld strings with iPods, recording

03/06, 1:45pm

iCoustic Guitars

Blurring the lines between acoustic and digital instruments, the iCoustic guitar line is meant to work both as a replacement for more than one instrument as well as part of a larger digital collection. A built-in amplifier and speaker (placed carefully in the soundhole to avoid distortion) will play the sound of any device connected through a standard minijack input; the company recommends iPods and even includes a side holster to grip the Apple music player while playing. The music can also be shared with any pro audio recording equipment through a quarter-inch audio jack and can even be used between two iCoustic models to play sound from one through the other.

Prices change based on the reference guitar, the company says. A Baby Taylor or Little Martin is available now for $499; the Alvarez Travel Bass Guitar sells for $749, and most any existing design can also be converted on request. [via Red Ferret]

NTT unveils simple, smart phone for beginners

03/06, 1:15pm

NTT Raku-Raku Phone

NTT DoCoMo bucked trends in cellphone design today by announcing the Raku-Raku PHONE Basic. Rather than dwell on media playback, the Basic uses its intelligence to automatically adjust settings for the hard of hearing, seniors, or first-time cellphone owners. A Slow Voice function automatically slows down incoming conversations to help follow fast callers; Clear Voice, in turn, auto-senses the ambient noise level and raises the volume of calls and ringtones to match. The clamshell will also voice the names of callers or e-mail senders, enlarge fonts, and send pre-made replies to messages.

Even with this emphasis, NTT says, the phone is still advanced enough to receive "push" news and alerts to its secondary display and doubles as a pedometer to track distance and exercise. Prices are unlisted, but the phone should be ready for an April release with the Japanese carrier in black, gold, pink, or white. [via SlashPhone]

Fujitsu's lightweight LifeBook S2210

03/06, 12:30pm

Fujitsu LifeBook S2210

Whereas ABS' Mayhem Blackhawk is a lightweight gaming machine, Fujitsu's LifeBook S2210 is aimed at business travellers. Each model uses a 1.6GHz Turion 64 X2 processor, and supplies graphics through a 256MB Radeon X1150. Though the hard drive is restricted to a maximum of 100GB, the 2210 does support an unusually high 4GB of RAM, where most laptops are limited to two. Connection options are also plentiful, since it features Ethernet, a 56K modem, 802.11a/b/g, and an optional Bluetooth receiver. A PC Card slot can be used for cellular broadband, among other tasks. All 2210s ship with Windows Vista Business and Microsoft Works 8.5. The computer costs between $1,299 and $1,979 depending on the configuration.

More HD coming to hotel rooms

03/06, 11:50am

More HD in hotel rooms

Hotel rooms can be notoriously backwards in terms of media technology, but the introduction of NxTV's HD set-top may signal a seachange, at least for wealthier travellers. Initially deploying to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, the box connects a hotel room to a central media server, which streams content such as HDTV and locally-hosted movies over an Ethernet connection. Users can further browse the web with a pre-loaded version of Firefox; options which may later become available include VoIP calls, guest messaging, and portal services tailored to the specific hotel. Some of the first movies appearing at the Century Plaza will include Apocalypto and Dreamgirls.

Alienware rolls out quad-core AMD, Intel workstations

03/06, 11:30am

Alienware MJ-12

Alienware kicked off its presence at this week's Game Developers Conference by shipping two new versions of its MJ-12 pro workstation. The AMD Opteron-based 8550a and Intel Xeon-based 8550i each support multi-core chips in dual socks, with each sporting two CPU sockets for as many as eight cores in the case of the Intel system. Other elements are characteristically high-end, Alienware notes: the workstations can be ordered with up to 16GB of memory or as many as four 15,000 RPM hard drives. Dual gigabit Ethernet ports are standard across every model.

The custom PC builder ships its most affordable quad-core Intel system with a 1.6GHz Xeon 5310, 1GB of RAM, 250GB of storage, and a Quadro FX 350 for $2949; its AMD equivalent ships with two 2GHz Opteron 2210 processors for $2749.

Mad Catz ships third-party PS3 gamepads

03/06, 11:10am

Mad Catz PS3 gamepads

Mad Catz has begun shipping some of its first third-party controllers for Sony's Playstation 3 console. Sold in wired and wireless varieties, the pads replicate some of the most important features of Sony's Sixaxis controller -- such as motion-sensing and a home button -- while remaining at least $10 cheaper. The pads are even improved in some regards, having quick-fire triggers, and the option of four different colors (red, blue, black and silver). The shape may also be more comfortable for some users. The wired pad is on sale for $30, while the wireless version is $40 and requires two AA batteries.

iSpin packs ready-made iPod videos, music on discs

03/06, 11:00am

iSpin DVDs and CDs

Stelix today introduced a new software concept called iSpin. Although pitched at businesses, the technology promises to streamline digital copies for portable media players: putting the CD or DVD in a PC's drive automatically pops up a program which can automatically transfer portable versions of audiobooks, music, or video to whichever music software and portable player a user owns -- including the iPod, PSP, Sansa, and Zune, the company says. The process both saves the trouble of ripping content for less experienced users and also ensures that every buyer has a legitimate copy on their PC and player without running into legal roadblocks.

iSpin should be available now to content creators, and should make its way to albums, games, and movies over the next few months. It currently runs on Windows PCs; the company hasn't confirmed the development of a Mac version.

Trabbit combines GPS, video player, TV tuner

03/06, 10:40am

Trabbit GPS/media player

Korea's Trabbit has launched the TM-7000, a media player that may be ideal for going on the road. Not only does it support general MP3, AVI and WMV files, it also supports the DivX, XviD and MPEG-4 SP codecs, and can tune in DMB TV where broadcasting. Critically, it has a built-in GPS receiver as well, which can be used while video continues playing in a picture-in-picture window. Users can even watch one video while another is in the corner of the seven-inch screen. Trabbit is selling the TM-7000 for 449,000 won ($472), or 519,000 won ($545) with TPEG services. [via Akihabara News]

Limited-edition graffiti Zune goes to charity auction

03/06, 10:20am

Zune Tempt One Edition

Microsoft has just revealed the Tempt One Zune. Custom-printed with graffiti markings on a black shell, the special edition will be sold as part of an art benefit on March 10th to help Los Angeles native graffiti artist Tempt One live at home while receiving treatment for a rare form of sclerosis. Only 35 of the limited-run models will be made, Microsoft says, with all of them to be sold at the show.

Microsoft has released multiple special Zunes since the original launch in November, including orange and pink for the developers and a Jeremy Fish version for student promoters. [via Zune Insider]

Pinnacle releases trio of Mac digital TV tuners

03/06, 9:50am

Pinnacle TV for Mac HD

Avid's home division Pinnacle today launched three new portable tuners with Mac users in mind. The TV for Mac line plugs directly into the USB 2.0 port of any supporting Mac and lets the computer either watch live TV or schedule recording through a bundled copy of Elgato's EyeTV Lite. A mini-antenna is also packed with every model to help ensure reception indoors or in heavy interference, as is an AV cable to record video from other sources, such as camcorders.

Editions vary by TV format support, Pinnacle says. The TV for Mac HD Stick is the lone US model, which tunes both ATSC for over-the-air HD broadcasts and NTSC for analog TV; the Hybrid Stick caters to European audiences with both DVB-T and analog PAL video, while the similar DVB-T Stick drops analog support for those who only need digital viewing. The TV for Mac HD Stick ships in March for $129. Availability for the European models hasn't been announced.

Fujitsu intros first 160GB, 7200 RPM notebook drive

03/06, 9:10am

Fujitsu 160GB 7200RPM HD

Fujitsu on Tuesday rolled out what it says is the highest-capacity, full speed notebook hard drive ever released. The MHW2160BJ spins at 7200 RPM despite holding 160GB of storage, eclipsing the 100GB limit on fast portable disks. The drive and its smaller 80GB and 120GB variants are also some of the first to ship with Serial ATA II support for burst transfers of up to 300MB per second. Power consumption is still low, however, with the drive peaking at 2.3 watts no matter how much demand is placed on the disk, according to the company.

All three capacities should be ready worldwide for notebooks and as stand-alone OEM drives by May; prices are unknown, but should vary by the individual system builder or dealer.

Archos unveils 704 Wi-Fi video player, PVR

03/06, 8:35am

Archos 704 Wi-Fi

Jukebox designer Archos this morning put speculation to rest and announced the 704 Wi-Fi, its new flagship player. Labeled as a mobile PVR, the finished 704 differs from what an FCC leak suggested by using a 7-inch, 800x480 screen sharp enough to view DVD-quality AVI, MPEG-4, or WMV clips for up to five hours. As suggested by the name, 802.11g wireless is built-in and gives access to both web browsing through Opera and media from nearby PCs. An optional PVR dock ($100) lets the Archos system record video directly to the 80GB hard drive, and music in MP3 or WMA is also supported.

The player should ship in mid-March for $550; optional packs that add H.264 and MPEG-2 video formats as well as AAC audio will also be available, though Archos hasn't mentioned their pricing. Click through for a full image.

Nikon D40x steps up with 10.2 megapixels, new lenses

03/06, 8:05am

Nikon D40x Announced

Nikon turned its attention to its digital SLRs today by introducing the D40x. The surprise upgrade to the D40 beginner SLR introduced late last year increases the resolution sharply from 6 to 10.2 megapixels -- matching the image size of the D80 and D200. The improved processing that follows also helps improve image quality and speed, according to the camera maker. Light sensitivity now reaches as low as ISO 100 for cleaner images in bright areas; capture speed is now as quick as three frames per second and will last the entire capacity of an SD card when shooting in JPEG.

Read through for lens and launch information as well as a gallery.

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