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The Japanese division of Clarion has debuted the DXZ475RC, an odd CD player in that it's intended for scooters, which have a much broader owner base outside of North America. The player consists of two components: a dash with the CD slot and primary controls, and a control puck (pictured), which attaches to a handlebar and has basic controls such as volume and track adjustment. Since scooters are exposed vehicles, Clarion has built the DXZ475RC to be resistant to the rainshowers it will inevitably experience. Prices and launch dates have yet to be disclosed by the company. [via Akihabara News]
As a sign of the decreasing costs of NAND memory, due in part to the Apple iPod, Intel has announced the creation of a line of flash drives, the first being the Z-U130 Value Solid-State Drive. The primary advantage to flash is speed, since programs and other files can be loaded near-instantaneously; the Z-U130, for example, will be able to read at 28MB/s, and write at 20MB/s. The drive will have a USB 2.0 interface, and come in 1, 2, 4 and 8GB capacities.
Whether or not it will be sold alone is uncertain, but Intel does expect it to be used in a number of consumer products, such as gaming hardware or low-cost desktop and notebook computers. Businesses may see the drive in routers, servers and point-of-sale terminals. No exact prices or release dates have been mentioned.
Best Buy's internal brand Insignia today launched the NS-DVB4G, one of the few music players available in North America with Bluetooth. The player was first hinted at by a Korean supplier in September and uses its addition for streaming MP3 or WMA audio wirelessly through nearby headphones or speakers. JPEG photos and MPEG-4 videos are also supported. Battery life with Bluetooth switched off is rated at 20 hours.
A single version of the player ships through the American retailer and contains 4GB of onboard flash, with the option of microSD cards for extra space. It supports both Macs and Windows PCs and should be in stores now for $160. [via CrunchGear]
Wal-Mart late Monday announced that it would pursue sustainable development in the electronics it carries in stores. Beginning in 2008, the retail giant will grade the electronics companies that fill its shelves based on their eco-friendliness. Energy efficiency, packing, recycling options, and the presence of toxic chemicals will be considered among other factors, according to Wal-Mart.
While the company hasn't indicated that it will drop wasteful suppliers, it says it will encourage electronics makers to rate higher on its scorecards; many devices that fit the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) standard already score well, such as notebooks From Toshiba. The move puts greater pressure on Apple and other firms to change their processes, as it and other firms still include irreplaceable parts and dangerous materials.
Direct clones of Apple's most recent iPods have surfaced, according to separate postings at online retailer DealExtreme. The Shuffle2-Style MP3 Player is an obvious parallel to Apple's screenless device, complete with an integrated clip and similar playback order controls; a 1GB version ships from the online store for $19 but may require the Shuffle II cradle ($5), an imitation of the iPod shuffle's dock for transferring and charging through USB.
Maxtek is aiming to upset the GPS business by launching its MNT-7T GPS unit. The system offers a 7-inch touchscreen even though its features are made with basic needs in mind, letting even newcomers to GPS view and interact with maps at a comfortable viewing distance from the screen. 512MB of onboard memory stores map data for the continental US at any given time but is supplemented by an SD card slot, which loads data for the rest of the US included on a bundled DVD.
The device is equally relevant as a media player and loads photos as well as MP3/WAV/WMA tracks from the card slot. An RCA video input further transforms the player into a substitute TV screen for DVD players, iPods, and video games. The MNT-7T is already on sale at $365, undercutting the prices of many smaller systems. [via GPS Gazette]
Stereo maker Morphy Richards today catered to world listeners with the DRM Radio. Besides supporting local AM/FM and DAB digital radio, the receiver supports the new Digital Radio Mondiale standard. Short-, middle-, and long-wave radio transmissions from around the world are translated into digital broadcasts, producing FM-quality audio streams regardless of where the listener happens to be.
The radio further doubles as a speaker for music players, with an aux-in jack for iPods and other MP3 players as well as an SD card slot to play MP3s directly from flash storage. It ships from the UK for the equivalent of $290. [via Tech Digest]
IOPS today slipped out information about its first in-car PC. Currently without a name, the two-slot PC completely replaces a vehicle's entertaintment system. A slide-out 7-inch touchscreen controls GPS mapping, music and video hosted on the PC itself. Owners can also pair the PC with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for finer control.
The true advantage, however, is its usefulness for wireless data, according to the company. Drivers can tune in live digital TV from T-DMB stations and don't need a separate tuner for radio; HSDPA mobile Internet is also available for browsing the Web or checking e-mail from the car simply by dropping into the hidden Windows interface. Full details will be available by the formal announcement of the PC at this week's CeBIT expo in Germany. [via New Launches]
Creative's Japanese division today had the distinction of launching a new change in the company's Zen Vision line. Both the compact Zen Vision:M and video-oriented Zen Vision: W are now much thinner, dropping as much as 20 percent in the case of the Vision:w. The reduction brings the players in line with the original versions despite storing twice as much at 60GB. No explanaion was given for the breakthrough, though the company may be using single-platter 60GB drives introduced at the start of the year.
The new Zen models launch today at the same $294 (Vision:M) and $379 (Vision:W) prices of their predecessors. An American update is likely to follow soon.
Media hubs such as the Apple TV are the end of the way we currently watch television, Digg.com's CEO said during a discussion panel at the South by Southwest music and technology festival. The executive, who also helps manage the Internet TV firm Revision3, told his audience that the ability to deliver TV through the Internet to the living room would render the conventional notions of specialty cable and satellite channels obsolete. Content providers are coming to understand that they can't limit content to a particular TV network or medium, Adelson said.
Having only used it for a year, Philips has already dropped a proprietary backlighting technology found in its LCD sets, says Reuters. The company's Aptura backlight used stroboscopic bursts, which created the illusion of sharper images with less motion blur. Philips will instead make the move to LED backlights, which continue to be expensive, but will require less development costs, especially given the company's existing Lumileds division. LEDs are generally considered to be longer-lasting than bulb-based technologies, and also consume less power for the same amount of brightness.
The trendy Russian design agency Art Lebedev Studio is finalizing the launch of its Sonicum computer speaker set. Its distinction is its unique ring-like speaker set: either satellite in the 2.1-channel system is shaped like the outline of a speaker cone but still manages 5 watts of power each thanks to NXT flat panels in each unit. A 15-watt subwoofer provides bass response as well as controls for volume.
Initiially projected for April, Art Lebedev's speakers are now due to ship on May 7th for $120. Pre-orders made before April 6th will ship for $78. [via Uncrate]
Although not available in North America at the moment, Kolin is shipping a new 42-inch LCD set to Taiwan, the KLT-4268. It joins the increasing ranks of relatively inexpensive 1080p sets, costing just $59,900 NT, or $1,812 US. Contrast on the screen is a mere 1,500:1, but it does have a brightness of 500cd/m2, and a viewing angle of 176 degrees. Other features include HDMI input and a DVB-T TV tuner, as well as built-in Dolby Digital processing. Competing products in Taiwan come from companies such as Asus, BenQ and Microtek. [via DigiTimes]
AnyDATA's newly-released AWR-600WK receives data strictly from HSDPA and WCDMA networks, enabling broadband anywhere within signal range, at speeds up to 7.2Mbps. The router itself sustains 54Mbps transfers for four Ethernet connections, or as many as 253 wireless users via 802.11b/g. Security measures include 12- or 64-bit WEP encryption, WPA-PSK authentication, and other options such as a firewall and IP filtering. One potential downside to the router is its antennas, as it only has two: one for WCDMA and another to broadcast locally. Also, to order the router, shoppers must contact AnyDATA directly.
Israeli fashion designer Bagir is using its Express Men clothes line to introduce the Play List Jacket. The company says it recognizes the trouble of storing an iPod in the pocket of a designer suit and has tailored a blazer just to avoid the wear and clutter that the Apple device can create: a special pocket holds the iPod safely and routes the headphone cables through the inside of the jacket to keep them out of the way. Soft controls on the inner lapel, attached by the Dock Connector, also let the wearer quickly switch tracks without taking the iPod out of its pocket.
Express hopes to offer the Play List Jacket later this month for $248, and will be accompanied by a set of pants to match its designer look.
Claims that The Beatles' music would be online early are untrue, according to a statement by Apple Corps' parent company, EMI. British online music store Wippit claimed in an announcement dated in advance for March 14th that it would carry The Beatles' catalog, making it the first to do so outside of the questionable Russian site AllOfMP3. However, EMI was quick to deny the claim and said that it would have the claim removed. The text of the press release itself is absent.
Apple Corps had said last month that it would release the famous band's music in a non-exclusive form, but opted out of naming any particular stores at the time. Apple, Inc.'s iTunes is heavily favored as one of the first after the end of its longstanding feud with the music label.
A meeting at LG's Digital Design Center in Seoul has revealed two new versions of the Shine phone -- click through for images. The first is a special gold edition, which will initially ship for CDMA networks in Korea; though it may ship elsewhere (and for GSM), such plans have yet to be confirmed. The other version is the Shine Folder, which as the name implies, converts the normal slider design into a clamshell. The phone otherwise appears to be unchanged. LG has yet to bring the regular Shine to North America, so the Folder should not be anticipated in the near future. [via SOGI]
ASUS today refreshed its MyPal PDAs with the A626. The company hopes to challenge the increasing dominance of smartphones by releasing a handheld small enough to compete with phones in size but large enough to work as a notebook's replacement in some situations: the A626 is only 0.62 inches thick and weighs 158 grams despite an attention-getting stainless steel body and a 3.5-inch touchscreen. The PDA uses Windows Mobile 5 to browse the web and local networks with 802.11g Wi-Fi, and can use its Bluetooth 2.0 linkup to remotely control a presentation hosted on a computer.
As is the case with many of its PDAs, ASUS' latest also has MP3/WMA audio and WMV video support. The A626 should be on sale now in China, parts of Europe, and Russia; launches are planned soon for Thailand and the US.
Normally a producer of professional audio hardware, OTTO today unveiled a trio of new devices just for the mainstream. Standing out is the OT-3 headset: the entire device is a self-contained music systme, combining both a 512MB music player and behind-the-head earphones. Tracks are controlled through one of the ear cups and allows for 7 EQ settings despite the lack of a screen. Charging is accomplished through USB and provides up to six hours of listening. It ships today for $85.
Also released are the OT-2 Car Kit, a Bluetooth hands-free adapter that either pairs with a wireless headset or works as its own speakerphone, and the OT-4 surround headset for private listening to games and movies with full sound. These too are set to ship from Otto today at prices of $130 and $40 respectively.
LG on Monday decided to shake up its home theaters with the introduction of the HT752TP. The receiver and all five satellite speakers abandon the safety of rectangular shapes for a pyramid design at their base. To further the effect, the base itself uses no moving buttons, instead using a touch interface to control the DVD player and music.
Sound is enhanced over other home theaters through a distinctive virtualization process: LG boasts that its 5.1-channel system can create a 10.1-channel sound. HDMI output helps the sound and visuals reach the TV at full quality, while a USB port lets the receiver load music and photos from a flash or hard drive. Prices and a possible North American launch are unknown.
Seagate today revealed the Momentus 7200.2, a new line of high-speed notebook drives. The drive producer joins Fujitsu in being one of the first companies to release a portable hard disk that combines high speed with storage. The updated Momentus continues to spin at the full 7200RPM speed but stores 160GB, making it an ideal fit for desktop replacements.
Importantly, the company adds, the drive also has anti-shock protection that can withstand as much as a 900 G impact when idle. The drive ships today to system builders and should become an option through those companies soon afterwards.
Samsung today began sampling a new, extra-high capacity version of its moviNAND flash chip. The chip maker said it has successfuly produced chips that store four, 16 gigabit flash memory units -- allowing for 8GB on a single chip. The technology should allow even smaller or less expensive music players to hold 2,000 songs and GPS units to cover the entire Western world with map data and points of interest. Such an advancement will also allow players with two chips, such as the iPod nano, to store a full 16GB of memory without increasing in size.
Under its still-current Cingular name, AT&T this morning has launched red versions of the BlackBerry Pearl and Treo 680. Both are exclusives, the provider says, and the first red versions of these devices anywhere.
The Pearl and Treo 680 are technically identical to their earlier versions, including their AT&T-specific features. Pricing is also similar: both are available for $200 when partnered with a two-year service plan, with the contract-free prices set at the original $400 and $450 costs of the Pearl and Treo respectively. A full photo of the Pearl can be found after the jump.
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