News Archive for 07/03/09

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TORQ preparing P175 Pocket PC

03/09, 5:20pm

TORQ P175 Pocket PC

A relative unknown in the realm of phones, TORQ is nevertheless developing the P175, its latest Pocket PC. It will run Windows Mobile 5.0 on a 520MHz Intel processor, and have 64MB of RAM and 128MB of ROM; the display is a 2.7-inch QVGA model with 262,000 colors. It should also be fairly modest in the realm of connectivity, supporting just tri-band GSM, EDGE broadband and 802.11b/g; other devices will link up through Bluetooth 1.2 or USB. A miniSD slot is provided for storage, though this is mainly to save photos from the 2-megapixel camera, since there is no mention of music playback. The primary advantage of the phone is likely to be price, since TORQ expects it to retail for $250-300 at an unspecified date. [via The Boy Genius Report]

Macs to get built-in video decoding, become PVRs?

03/09, 4:30pm

Mac Built-in Decode HW

Apple is preparing to outfit its Macs with hardware that would accelerate decoding and encoding video, according to Robert Cringely of PBS. The columnist claims that every Mac to be released in 2007 will at some point include a chipset that offloads the tasks of rendering videos from the CPU, guaranteeing a minimum level of quality across every system.

Imporantly, Cringely adds, the hardware will be used to let Macs double as PVRs, converting live TV into H.264 videos to be shared across other devices. The hardware could also be used to improve the quality of video chats and for streaming home TV over the Internet as with the Slingbox. These tasks could even be handled in the background without the user even noticing.

Agfa debuts 6-megapixel budget camera

03/09, 3:45pm

Agfa DC-630i Camera

Agfa has contributed its own share to the camera announcements at the PMA photo expo by unveiling the DC-630i for the US. The budget 6-megapixel camera appeals directly to first-time photographers with just enough important features to help compose their initial shots: face tracking picks out as many as three people to focus on in a shot, and potentially blurry shots are fixed through ISO-based shake correction. A 2.5-inch LCD at the back, a 3X optical zoom lens, and support for storage using SD or SDHC cards finish up the design.

The DC-630i was initially announced only for Europe, but is now set to appear in the US by April, when it should retail for $169. Click for a profile image after the break.

Panasonic plans dip into entry-level digital SLRs

03/09, 3:10pm

Panasonic Entry DSLR

Panasonic intends to launch a digital SLR camera targeted at a wide audience, the company's camera planning manager Ichiro Kitao said at the PMA photography expo. The firm hopes to expand its Lumix SLR cameras beyond the pro-oriented $2,000 L1K by introducing a low-cost model for photographers just moving beyond fixed-lens cameras. Its features will be at least as powerful as the L1K in most areas, Kitao said: a 10-megapixel sensor, live preview LCD, image stabilization, and a dust removal system are certain to be part of the camera. It should also ship with a Leica lens and support the Four Thirds mounts used by Olympus lenses.

Celrun intros do-all GPS unit with digital radio, TV

03/09, 2:25pm

Celrun FDN-2700 GPS TV

Celrun promised a multi-talented device on Friday with its upcoming FDN-2700 GPS unit. While a 7-inch touchscreen mapping system designed primarily for cars, the system also incorporates a tuner for both digital TV from DMB-based channels and digital radio from DAB stations and will even display the entertainment alongside navigation to keep one from interrupting the other. The receiver also accepts TPEG terrestrial broadcasts for live traffic alerts. An SD card slot loads map information and serves as a loading point for MP3 songs.

Listed only as "coming soon," no prices or launch dates have been made available. The 2700 is likely to remain in its native Korea without significant changes. The company has not explained the choice of an Apple logo for its media playback section. [via AVING]

Arcam readies audiophile iPod dock

03/09, 1:55pm

Arcam Audiophile iPod Dock

Home theater designer Arcam today launched the rDock. As an alternative to other cradles for the iPod, the rDock is claimed to be the first to truly satisfy audiophiles. Its construction and materials are influenced by dedicated home stereo gear, and include a pre-amp as well as low-interference power supplies. The iPod's power is also carefully managed to preserve audio quality. Since even recharging the iPod can interfere with audio quality, Arcam claims to have learned in a study, the charging system automatically shuts down when the battery is full.

Listeners can also hook up any dockable iPod directly to more sources through increased output options, including native RCA stereo output as well as RCA and S-video jacks for image-capable iPods. The rDock should be available in the UK now for the equivalent of $231. [via Tech Digest]

Google developing location-based search for phones?

03/09, 1:25pm

Google Phone Search Patent

Google may be on the verge of introducing a search technology that could tie into the next generation of phones, according to a recently discovered patent granted to the Web developer. Officially titled "Nonstandard locality-based text entry," the technique would have a phone's Google search tool determine what the owner is looking for based on cues from the hardware itself, such as a GPS receiver or the internal clock.

A device could recommend several options for nearby stores and change those recommendations based on the time of day. Search and text messaging histories would also become relevant by helping the engine recommend particular locations or services.

Purdue scientists invent world's first 'tricorder'

03/09, 1:15pm

World's first 'tricorder'

A new device developed at Purdue University should finally allow mobile, non-invasive substance analysis, much like the tricorders used in Star Trek, says EETimes. The unnamed prototype is essentially a portable mass spectrometer, the key innovation being the use of an ion trap, which lets users place the scanner next to the target. Current spectrometers often require samples to be physically inserted. The Purdue device is also substantially lighter, weighing a mere 20 pounds compared to 300-pound units in some airports, and still fits a hard drive and Windows-based control system. If mass-produced it could also cost as little as $2,000, Purdue scientists say, and be used in everything from food testing to medical scans. The first commercial rollout of the device is in progress, but is only intended for laboratories.

Square One handles routing and file-server tasks

03/09, 12:15pm

Square One router/server

The Square One by Quad Micro Works is a part of the growing trend of file servers aimed at home users. The difference, however, is that the Square can also be used as an 802.11g router and print server; knowledgable users can turn it into an FTP or Apache web server. The Square is Vista and Mac OS X compatible, and holds up to 320GB, which can be accessed either via wireless or through six Ethernet ports. Camera users will appreciate the eight-in-one card reader, which enables the likes of CF and SD cards to be accessed from anywhere on a network. The server should be available now for an average cost of $399, though Amazon is selling it for $385. [via Gearlog]

Wing Inter develops stealthy pen MP3 player

03/09, 11:50am

N007 MP3 Pen

Wing Inter today launched the N007 MP3 player. Reflecting the spy origins in its name, the device is a fully functional ballpoint pen but separates to reveal a full music player with MP3, WAV, and WMA music support; a nub at the top of the cap navigates tracks, while small LEDs on the side indicate its status. The pen also works as a surreptitious voice recorder and and as a data drive, the company adds.

Several versions are available that vary by storage. A 128MB model sells for $104 in Korea to those who only need a handful of files, while a 2GB edition at the top of the range retails for $209. All models come with earbuds and a coreded remote. [via AVING]

Treo 750 caught running Windows Mobile 6

03/09, 11:20am

Treo 750 Running WM6

Palm's Treo 750 is set to receive at least a software upgrade, a photo leak has revealed. The update would see the latest smartphone from the company running Windows Mobile 6, giving it a copy of Office Mobile and the option of editing documents without needing to buy extra software through a carrier or from Microsoft.

Whether or not the phone has received any hardware changes hasn't been revealed, though the leak points to the same 300MHz processor and free memory as the current model. The source also indicates that the example version is a 750v, possibly leading to an initial launch with European carrier Vodafone. Release dates are unavailable; click through for the complete images. [via Mobility Today]

Kingston Amber Alert drive helps track missing kids

03/09, 10:50am

Kingston Amber Alert Drive

Memory maker Kingston has teamed with Global Security Alerts to create the AMBER Alert Child ID Kit. This converted 512MB DataTraveler USB flash drive includes software that stores all of a child's relevant information -- including photos, personal info, and Internet account IDs -- in a single location. The drive helps worried parents quickly get relevant information to police and others if their children ever goes missing and will automatically update itself to make sure that Internet-based information remains current.

Individual drives ship now for $30, but both involved companies encourage ordering in bulk to protect children and drop the price to $24 each when buying two or more. [via Popgadget]

Bose dashboard mount does music, GPS

03/09, 10:45am

Bose Media System

Bose forthcoming Media System is a dash-mounted system that combines GPS and music functions, with a stronger emphasis on the latter. It can for instance play CDs and FM or XM radio, but more importantly, it has a 30GB hard drive which can store up to 200 hours of audio. Users can also connect and control devices such as phones and iPods using Bluetooth or USB 2.0. The primary control scheme is a pair of proximity-sensitive dials -- as users move their hand to one or the other, the dash automatically switches interfaces. It also sorts music (songs and stations) by genre for faster selection. No pricing or release dates have been set, except that the first car to use it will this year's Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. [via Navigadget]

O2 launches XDA Graphite with 3G wireless

03/09, 10:20am

O2 XDA Graphite Launched

British cell provider O2 today officially launched the XDA Graphite. Its bar phone shape belies the smartphone components at work: Windows Mobile 5 runs the device and supports both push e-mail and pocket versions of Excel, Outlook, and Word for viewing files away from the office. The Graphite is also a true 3G wireless phone that connects to the Internet through UMTS for both web browsing and video calls using the integrated front VGA camera. Bluetooth 2.0 and a rear 2-megapixel camera are also part of the package.

The graphite is on sale now through O2 and can be had for free depending on the service plan. The device was FCC-approved last year, but may require changes to see service in the US. [via Pocket-lint]

Palm hires ex-Apple man to tackle iPhone

03/09, 9:55am

Palm Tackles iPhone

Palm is concerned enough about the iPhone to have hired a designer to improve its efforts, accorind to the New York Times' John Markoff. The fellow California-based company has recruited a former Apple engineer, Paul Mercer, with the intent of creating a new line of products. Although the details of the new project remain secret, according to Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak, Markoff notes that the hire took place just three weeks ago -- suggesting a direct response to the iPhone's anticipated impact.

magicJack promises super-simple VoIP

03/09, 9:10am

magicJack VoIP Adapter

Telecom vet Dan Borislow today filled in early details of the magicJack, his similarly-titled company's new adapter and service hybrid. The goal is to simplify VoIP to the point where almost anyone can use it, the firm claims. Once subscribed, the only setup needed is plugging the adapter into a USB port and any analog phone into the adapter: the device automatically installs and configures itself within a minute and is ready to use from then onwards. It currently supports only Windows but will be followed by a Mac version.

NTT intros mobile Internet-based video phone

03/09, 8:40am

NTT FOMA Video Phone

NTT DoCoMo late Thursday took advantage of its home country's mobile broadband to launch the FOMA video telephone. The device connects to NTT's FOMA-based cellular Internet to deliver video calls on a 7-inch touchscreen that also doubles as the main interface for dialing. The system is made for the elderly or sick who may need to show their physical condition to a doctor, NTT says. A wireless remote bundled with the video terminal helps to this effect: a single red button is pre-assigned to a given number so that an owner can quickly dial a number in case of an emergency.

The phone has just become available in Japan as of today for an unlisted price.

DuelAdapter preserves PC Cards in ExpressCard era

03/09, 8:10am

DuelAdapter ExpressCard

Duel Systems recently began shipping its unique DuelAdapter. Simply designed as a way to use PC Card devices in newer portables, the adapter plugs into either an ExpressCard 34 or 54 slot and treats externally connected PC Cards as though they were native devices. Most any 16- or 32-bit card will work as though it were a native device (including EDGE and EVDO mobile Internet cards) and will run at full speed due to the ExpressCard bus, the company says.

The adapter installs on any ExpressCard-equipped computer using Mac OS X 10.4.8 or Windows XP and sells today for $99. A secondary adapter is also available for reading CompactFlash, SD, and other flash memory formats. [via Engadget]

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