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With Sony having begun its DSLR line with the Alpha 100 (pictured) last July, it is moving on to two newer Alphas, says senior general manager Toru Katsumoto. The company is willing to reveal little about features, but it is known that the cameras will have new image sensors, with the top model adding a Bionz image processing chip. The cameras will also retain compatibility with the current lens mount, and be joined by five or more new lenses, including a 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, and an 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3. [via CNET]
ASUS today gave a preview of the EcoBook, its second venture into designer notebooks after the VX series. Each model will use bamboo wood for paneling that not only adds a unique texture to the shell but is completely biodegradable, separating from the main body to be recycled once they or the portable fall out of use. The mousing sinput is also unique: much as with the displays of some Chinese phones, the trackpad is enlarged and supports handwriting either through a finger or a stylus. LED status lights are also hidden underneath the pad's surface.
Specifications are unlisted for the EcoBook due to its early state: the notebook isn't due to ship until 2008, when its design and the internal components will both be ready. Pricing should be relatively high due to the choice of materials. Select photos can be found after the break. [via Crave UK]
DosPara specialized its PC range today and introduced the PrimeA Create Photo for SILKYPIX. Its goal is to minimize the distractions in a photographer's work and match the ideal performance level for the included copy of SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3, the system builder says. The black, grilled chassis both hides itself in a dark room and renders the CPU fan near-silent. Affordable speed is also emphasized throughout the PC with AMD's workstation-class 128MB FireGL V3400 for graphics, an Athlon 64 X2 5200+ for dual-core processing of RAW shots, and 2GB of RAM to reduce drive access. Storage is provided in the form of a Pioneer dual-layer DVD rewriter and a 320GB hard disk.
The firm is taking orders for a March 15th launch that will see the new PrimeA computer on sale in Japan for $2,046. A stripped-down version without SILKYPIX or Windows is also available for $1,858.
LG on Thursday went against the grain of the market by updating its Flat TV line of CRT sets with the 21FU1R. The 21-inch set is the slimmest tube-based TV anywhere, thanks to a 120-degree deflection angle between the electron gun and the screen. This makes it a much more competitive option in developing areas of the world, where the 75 percent price difference between a CRT and a similarly-sized LCD set can be crucial, LG says. An anti-doming mask and flat glass helps eliminate distortion near the edges and is complemented by a nano-fluorescent coating that boosts the contrast ratio.
Shipments are expected to start soon in Africa as well as the Middle East, where LG feels tube TVs stand the best chance of success; a North American launch is unlikely given the increasing shift towards LCD and plasma displays in the continent. [via CrunchGear]
China's Amoi is making its first tentative steps into the US market, according to a freshly uncovered FCC filing. The SMT5700 will recall the pioneering, Audiovox-made SMT5600 smartphone sold years before by AT&T but should modernize the design and features. Many details are hidden by the filing but should include a 2-megapixel camera, a microSD card slot for storage, and mobile Internet through EDGE. The phone's software should be driven by Windows Mobile.
An appearance by the SMT5700 in FCC testing confirms a relatively near-term release that should occur within the next few months. It will also be one of the first devices to return to the AT&T logo in the wake of the changeover from the Cingular name. Click through for the complete image. [via Engadget Mobile]
Beyond their camera releases at the start of the PMA expo, General Electric and HP have both released their own photo printers. For GE, the P1 (shown) is its first-ever printer of the kind and produces photo-quality images in 105 seconds at 4800x1200 DPI. A 2.5-inch LCD manages printing from either a computer's USB 2.0 port or a PictBridge-enabled camera. While no price has been set, the P1 should be available along with the GE camera range in May.
The upcoming SoMo 650 by Socket may be an unexpectedly powerful competitor in the realm of Pocket PCs. Though it only runs Windows Mobile 5.0, it has a 624MHz Intel processor, 128MB of RAM, and 256MB of onboard storage. Also remarkable is its expansion slots, which support SDIO and CompactFlash rather than the likes of microSD. Connection options include USB, Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g; reflecting the business audience, optional accessories involve a barcode scanner and an RFID reader. Still unknown however is what networks the phone will operate on, and whether it will have a touchscreen or a QWERTY keyboard. The 650 should ship in the second quarter for $648.
General Electric today confirmed its earlier intentions to enter the digital camera realm by unveiling a full eight inaugural models. The X1 targets the bridge between home users and professionals with a 12X optical zoom fixed lens and optical image stabilization, and ISO 1600 assisting serious photographers; at the same time, the 8-megapixel camera also helps novices with face detection, a 2.5-inch live LCD, and a consciously simplified interface. It should be available for $399 in May along with the rest of the line.
Read through for details and photos of all eight models.
FlipStart's first product will be a self-named ultra-compact laptop, designed to compress as many full-sized features as possible into a small space. Among these are touchpad and a well-spaced QWERTY keyboard, as well as a full-fledged operating system, whether it be Windows XP Pro or Vista Business. Though the screen is only 5.6 inches, resolutions up to 1024x600 are supported. A bundled port replicator allows the use of standard keyboards and monitors; supported wireless formats include Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, and unspecified cellular broadband. A more original feature of the FlipStart is the InfoPane, a tiny, low-power screen that allows instant access to essential functions (such as e-mail) without opening the lid. Microsoft Outlook 2007 is pre-installed. Deliveries of the computer will begin by the end of the month for $1,999.
LG is planning to be the first notebook maker in the US to introduce a pair of new technologies, an inadvertently posted specs page reveals. The R400 will be one of the first portables to ship with Samsung's new 120GB MH80 hybrid drive with built-in flash to improve battery life and load times. Almost as unique is the 128MB Mobility Radeon X2300: still unannounced by AMD despite its earlier arrival in the ASUS A8Jr, the budget chipset should make its first Western appearance in the R400 and boost its graphics without adding much to the cost or power draw. A 1.73GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB of RAM will also help the 14-inch system run quickly compared to most other systems in its class.
Surprisingly, the system is due to ship as soon as March 30th in Canada for $1,199 CDN ($1,017 US), potentially beating ASUS as well as most US-based notebook makers to the release of the new graphics and storage advancements. [via The Inquirer]
Kingston has a pair of unique entries for the PMA expo. The first is an 8GB SDHC card (not pictured), which is still a rarity despite the theoretical 32GB limit for SDHC. There will also be three versions of the card, in Class 2, 4 and 6 speeds -- a minimum of 2, 4 and 6MB/s, respectively. Exact speeds have not been mentioned.
Complementing the new cards is the DataTraveler Reader, which combines a USB 2.0 flash drive with a card slot that reads several different formats, including SD, SDHC, miniSD, microSD, and MMC. When plugged into a computer, the Reader is automatically assigned two different drive letters. It should be available by the end of the month in 1, 2 and 4GB sizes, with prices starting at $20. The 8GB SDHC cards should already be on sale for $110-130 from select retailers, though not Kingston itself.
Vizio's newest plasma set is the VP42HDTV, which is notable mainly for coming in under the psychologically important $1,000 barrier. It does however have a reasonable level of performance, including a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 480 cd/m2 brightness, and an estimated lifetime of 60,000 hours. An ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner is built-in, and it features two HDMI and two component ports, plus one for computer RGB. Maximum resolution extends to 720p/1080i. The set should be on sale today, and is available either from the Vizio website or Costco retail outlets.
High-end camera maker Leica on Thursday revealed the C-LUX 2. One of the company's more affordable models, the 7.2-megapixel compact still aims at premium photography by using a 28-100mm wide-angle lens with hardware image stabilization and 3.6X optical zoom. The wider resolution also allows for DVD-quality, 848x480 movies at full speed. Shutter speed is also extremely high, Leica claims: photos snap at 1/2000th of a second for stills and 1/6400 for videos. Sensitivity peaks at ISO 1250 in normal mode but can be raised to ISO 3200 for dark scenes.
Both Lexar and SanDisk are using the PMA expo to debut several new high-end memory products. Lexar's offerings come in the form of the Platinum II "prosumer" line, with a 4GB CompactFlash card, and 2GB and 4GB versions of the Memory Stick PRO Duo. Lexar says these will be available later in the month, though the 2GB version appears to already be in stock at Adorama for $55.
SanDisk, meanwhile, has launched two new cards in its Extreme III professional line. The 4GB SDHC is the predominant one, since it not only has a 20MB/s transfer rate, but an included MicroMate card reader that plugs directly into a USB port. The other card is another 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo, whicn only has a speed of 18MB/s, and does not come with a reader. Each card will be out in April, with the SDHC model actually costing less at $140, while the MSPD card will run $180.
Vivitar contributed to the announcements at the PMA photo expo today by announcing multiple still image and video cameras. The ViviCam 6200W (pictured) is housed in a rubber and metal shell watertight to depths of 30 feet, making it suitable for both swimming and diving. Optical zoom is absent to protect the lens underwater and is replaced by 4X digital zoom. The 6200W stores photos on either 16MB of internal memory or SD cards and will ship soon, though pricing is unavailable.
Also announced was the DVR530, the company's first video-focused camera. Envisioned as a starter camera, video is captured at VGA resolution at 30 frames per second using 4X digital-only zoom. The video camera will also take photos at its native 5 megapixels and doubles as a webcam when attached to a computer through USB. Media is stored on SD cards rather than tape and lets the DVR530 play MP3 files as well as record audio memos.
HP joined in the announcement of cameras at PMA by releasing three point-and-shoot models. Leading the announcements is the 7.2-megapixel Photosmart R837, the first camera ever to have a specific mode for pets. When turned on, the setting automatically finds a pet's eyes and corrects the image to avoid the glow effect produced in normal shots. The design also features a relatively rare 3X lens whose zoom mechanism operates internally, keeping the design slim regardless of the subject's distance. HP ships the camera with 32MB of built-in flash memory in April at a price of $229.
A US patent was published today for Apple technology that could potentially ease Wi-Fi networking most or all of the latter's future devices. Titled "RFID network arrangement," the patent would see the firm use an RFID transceiver built into a base station and loaded with wireless network information, such as network names and security authentication. The information could then be sent to any device in a network with a synchronized RFID tag, automatically providing network details without requiring software setup on the device in question.
Updated with LCD photo Sony rounded out its camera announcements today by revealing the Cyber-shot G1. While the camera itself is relatively modest at 6 megapixels, the design emphasizes features rarely seen in other models. The G1 uses a 3.5-inch LCD with 921,000-pixel resolution -- one of the largest ever for a camera, according to its creator. The extra detail improves several of the equally unique software features, including photo slideshows with music soundtracks, a more user-friendly interface, and a dynamic search system that can find photos by color, face, or framing.
A first for the Cyber-shot range is integrated Wi-Fi. The wireless link allows sharing between cameras and other devices that fit the Digital Living Network Alliance standard. To this end, the camera also contains 2GB of internal memory as well as support for Memory Stick Duo cards as large as 8GB, ensuring that the camera can keep files well after a photo session.
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