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Commodore late today launched its anticipated return to computers with its Cg line of high-end gaming PCs. Each system is custom-painted to match the customer's tastes: game art, photos, and other images can cover the entire system case.
Four speed grades make up the line, according to the company, ranging from the base Cg to the flagship Cxx. The latter will be one of the fastest computers available, Commodore boasts. A quad-core 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme, dual GeForce 8800 GTX video cards, two 150GB Western Digital Raptor drives (with a third 500GB drive), and 4GB of RAM will all be standard. The system will come preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate and should see full pricing and launch details available tomorrow at CeBIT. [via Primo Tech]
One of the key advantages of the Microsoft Zune over the Apple iPod was intended to be wireless sharing between players; this edge has apparently been lost, however, thanks to a product devised by a teenager and her father. The SnoopTunes NoeStringAttached is a dongle that attaches to an iPod's headphone jack, and then broadcasts to similarly-equipped players. In contrast with the Zune, which limits shared songs to three plays or three days, tracks shared through the NoeStrings are DRM-free, though this is of course because the NoeStrings is essentially an RF transmitter -- no files are actually copied. Users can switch between five channels to avoid interference from other devices. The product is only being sold on eBay at the moment, but it is expected to arrive in stores such as Best Buy by the end of the year. [via Crave]
Combining short films on a single DVD may already be common practice, but Lionsgate will become the first studio to pair two movies on a single HD-format disc. "Ultimate Avengers" and "Ultimate Avengers 2" will be available together on one 50GB Blu-Ray disc, which will still have enough space left over to hold bonus materials, such as featurettes and a trivia track. The disc will ship April 24th and cost $40. Lionsgate intends to continue releasing double-features into the future, but has not announced any titles beyond Ultimate Avengers. More popular pairings may give Blu-Ray an edge in the HD format war, as HD DVD discs have only half the capacity of Blu-Ray. [via TG Daily]
Toshiba has quietly begun shipping its first travel HD DVD drive, the PA3530U-1HD1. Its thin profile suits it to being carried alongside a notebook for watching HD movies and as an external second drive for most any USB 2.0-equipped system. While read-only for its native format, the drive also burns DVD-R and -RW discs at 4X and CDs as quickly as 16X for write-once CDs. Dual-layer DVDs and CD-RW discs are also writeable.
The Japanese firm's latest drive currently needs both a modern PC and a nearby power source, and ships from NewEgg today for $370. [via Everything USB]
Whereas Mitsubishi is known mainly for cars in North America, it's familiar worldwide in a number of fields, including consumer electronics. Japanese shoppers now have access to five new LCDs from the company, which are being sold under the Real brand. At front are the two Real MZ sets: these support resolutions up to 1080p ("full" HD), and come with HDMI 1.3 ports and digital TV tuners. The screens also have a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and are shipping in 40- and 46-inch sizes. The low end is represented by the Real MX sets, which are merely described as "HD-Ready," and come in 26-, 32-, and 37-inch sizes. Similarly, they use HDMI 1.2a and have a less impressive display engine. [via Akihabara News]
Dell revealed today that it will be the first computer builder to offer a one terabyte hard drive as an option in its systems. Using Hitachi's recently announced Deskstar 7K1000, Dell's own XPS 710, as well as its gaming brand Alienware's Area-51 and Aurora systems, will all get the added storage as an option during the customization process. The added space could be essential for gamers and others who want to keep their entire media library on their computers, says Dell's global consumer marketing VP Neil Hand. The 1TB drive has yet to be listed on Alienware's site but is now a $540 extra for the Dell XPS system.
Japan's Thanko today launched a new music headband just for runners. The VONIA is crafted with the iPod shuffle and other very small audio players in mind. A small pocket at the front holds the player and relays its sound through wires hidden inside the headband itself, preventing tangles during a run. The company has chosen to use bone conduction instead of headphones: sound transmits directly through the skull and leaves the ears free to pick up crucial audio cues from the outside world without affecting audio quality. It's also possible to fit a waterproof guard on the bone conduction speakers to take them swimming with the right player, Thanko adds.
The VONIA should be available from the online retailer by the end of March for $84. Exports to the US haven't been confirmed.
Samsung began its stay at Germany's CeBIT expo by launching a suite of new LCD and plasma sets first for Europeans. Nicknamed the Tulip line based on their rounded shape, the new LCDs all appear to enhance image quality even compared to the upcoming 53 series for the US: in the M87 range, the 37-inch model will all feature a brighter 8,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio versus the 7,000:1 for the US, while the larger 40-, 46-, and 52-inch sets will nearly double the figure to 15,000:1.
These models will be 1080p-capable and will have a 9-in-1 card reader as well as three HDMI inputs, with prices ranging between £1,200 ($2,321) and £2,500 ($4,836) when they reach Britain in April.
NVIDIA is about to release its first GeForce 8-series video cards, newly leaked information reveals. The graphics card producer intends to release three boards that share the unified shaders of the 8800 line but cut the amount of memory and clock speeds to keep prices in check.
The flagship 8600 GTS (shown) will be the fastest, according to the leak: it will actually be clocked higher than more expensive cards with a 675MHz core, but will use a 128-bit memory bus (reduced from 384 bits) and 1GHz memory; the 8600 GT, in turn, will clock at a more modest 540MHz core and 700MHz memory. A final model the 8500 GT, has not been given final clock speeds but will have the option of falling back to less expensive DDR2 memory for budget PCs. The 8600 GTS will ship with 256MB of memory while its less expensive counterparts have the option of 128MB.
Aiming to please commuters who may miss their favorite shows, Sony today launched its XDV-100 portable. The small device is just large enough to hold a 2.8-inch screen and tunes Japan's 1Seg digital TV broadcasts to let the viewer catch shows anywhere they can find good reception. The portable also sports an AM/FM tuner for radio and a TV programming guide to keep track of current and upcoming shows.
The handheld is due for release in its home country on April 10th at a price equal to $340. An American version will have to wait for a format similar to 1Seg before a possible launch.
Sharp has confirmed that it will produce a massive 108-inch LCD set, according to the company's European CEO Hans Kleis. The chief said that the TV, which has been shown at trade shows as a prototype in recent months, wasn't meant to be relegated to the sidelines and would be sold as a real product "in the future."
Prices were not mentioned, but will likely vary as the electronics maker intends to let buyers customize the set with diamonds and other exotic materials. The unnamed 108-inch set is one of the sharpest ever produced and quadruples the resolution of today's sets at 2160p (4096x2160).
Though the merger of XM and Sirius may have prompted fears of a monopoly in satellite radio, such worries were apparently unfounded, as a new company called Slacker is promising to fill the void. It will actually offer a threefold service: at the core is the already-running web radio, which is free with video advertising, or $7.50 per month without ads. While it concentrates on modern pop music, users can find dance and electronic stations, and hits as old as the 1940s. Crucially, listeners can choose to vote on songs as they play, which may affect later playlists.
Logitech on Wednesday saw fit to announce a pair of new webcams made just for notebook users, including one it says is a truly premium model. The QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks (pictured) is one of the few webcams to use a glass lens element, evading the cheaper and distorting plastic used by most others. It also relies upon a sharp 1.3-megapixel sensor that helps take sharper photos with the integrated snapshot button. The Deluxe clips on to most notebooks and will ship in April for $60.
Details of the basic camera and a photo follow after the break.
With Acer on the rise, according to the Wall Street Journal, it is also hunting for acquisitions to solidify its position, which may soon make it number three in global PC shipments behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard. CEO J.T. Wang has refused to say exactly who the company has in mind -- other than a PC manufacturer -- but Taiwanese site DigiTimes claims it is none other than Gateway, which would indeed bring Acer closer to Dell's level, since it is worth $288 million and is the third-largest PC supplier in the US. Unidentified "industry sources" are cited as evidence. The same acquisition was rumored last year however, and was vehemently denied by Wang, who rightfully argued that Acer would grow without any mergers in 2006. The company intends to become number three by the end of 2007 regardless.
Memory maker Super Talent has announced a pair of products with unusually high capacities. The first comes in a series of new SATA flash drives, ranging in size from a 1.8-inch 16GB model to a 3.5-inch 128GB model, a size still rarely seen in computing due to cost; the bulk of the iPhone's price, for example, will come from the 8GB of onboard memory. All of Super Talent's new flash drives should reach OEMs and resellers in April. Also scheduled that month is the production of new DIMM modules -- unique in that they are 4GB, fully-buffered DDR2 chipsets, geared towards high-performance Xeon servers. Users will pay for the privilege, as 533MHz chips will cost $1,049, while 667MHz chips will be $1,199.
Music labels have received a mixed blessing in 2006 in terms of music downloads, according to a new study published by The NPD Group. The research firm found that the number of households legally buying online music downloads from iTunes and other services had soared in 2006 to 13 million, tripling the figures seen in 2004 -- a far faster growth rate than the 8 percent seen for largely illegal peer-to-peer sites, NPD said. While the number of homes using P2P was still larger at 15 million, analyst Russ Crupnick noted it was "likely" 2007 would be the first year when the number of legal buyers would overtake file traders.
Verizon Wireless has officially adopted the SCH-U540 by Samsung, which will occupy the middle of the road in the carrier's performance range. The flip phone has a 1.3-megapixel camera, for instance, as well as EVDO broadband, and a microSD slot for expanded storage. Its performance is likewise good enough to exploit V Cast services, including music downloads, and it will make use of VZ Navigator to provide rudimentary directions. With a two-year contract and an online discount, the U540 can be had for as little as $80. [via Crave]
Sony-Ericsson continued its announcements today and released a pair of accessories to make better use of its handsets. The MPS-75 Snap-on Speakers are built specifically for the cellphone maker's W660i Walkman phone and attach to the bottom, providing stereo sound powered entirely by the phone for parties or listening at work. An FM antenna is also hidden away to magnify the reception of the W660i's internal FM radio.
Motorola and Vonage today started shipping the VT2542 router for the latter's VoIP service. The new switch is the first from Vonage to offer Wi-Fi: subscribers to the company's network can now connect laptops and other computers to the Internet while still freeing up space for four Ethernet-connected PCs and up to two analog phones. Like other routers, the VT2542 has support for secure wireless and VPN connections; however, it prioritizes voice data packets over others to guarantee phone quality above all else.
Vonage is already making its latest router available today for $60 after an instant rebate and subscribing to any of its phone service plans.
Sony-Ericsson on Wednesday provided an early start to CeBIT by unveiling the W660i. In contrast to most Walkman music phones, the emphasis is on style: the gold-lined finish and colors (Record Black or Rose Red) encourage you to touch the phone, according to the cellphone designer. Nonetheless, the phone is said to be every part a true music player with a dedicated Walkman button, a music jukebox with album art support, and a bundled 512MB Memory Stick Micro with storage for more through a card slot. Photography is handled through a 2-megapixel camera in the back with a VGA camera at the front for 3G video calls.
The tri-band GSM and UMTS phone should be available in the spring in Europe and other key areas for an unspecified price. Click through for a full profile shot of the phone in its distinctive Rose Red shade.
MediaREADY late yesterday introduced the BLINGPLAYER. The company claims the new jukebox is as much a fashion statement as a functional player: the main body is studded in crystals, and hangs around the neck by a stylized chain with dogtags. The device itself is also more advanced than other players in the class, with a 1.8-inch screen and support for MPEG-4 video as well as more conventional MP3 and WAV music tracks. An FM tuner and voice recorder are also part of the package.
A single version of the player with 2GB of flash memory is due to ship in April for $199; the company adds that the player will be available at clothiers and jewelers as well as electronics shops.
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