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Bluetooth specialist Parrot has announced the MK6100, a combination display and amplifier for cars meant as much for music as it is for cellphones. While it can be used to dial and receive calls without taking a phone out of its pocket, it also supports A2DP audio, which is pumped through a 30W amplifier into a car's speakers. Similarly, the wireless remote features special music controls that communicate through the AVRCP standard. This means that the 6100 can take advantage of any audio source, so long as it has Bluetooth output. The display additionally has a text-to-speech function, which can read contacts aloud while users are driving. The 6100 should be on sale in North America in the second quarter of this year. [via TechDigest]
Companies from around the world have announced the Open IPTV Forum, geared to develop a global IPTV standard, says Reuters. Major founders include the likes of Ericsson, Philips, Samsung, Siemens, Sony and France Telecom. One of the major problems of IPTV has been the divisive range of possibilities, from the number of codecs available, to the level of DRM (if any) that might prevent rampant piracy. If the Forum succeeds as planned, an initial standard could be ready by the end of the year. Notably absent from the group however are Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent, which occupy leading positions in the IPTV market. Likewise, no filmmakers or TV production companies are participating. Should the three sides fail to support each others' initiatives, IPTV may remain fractured between different providers.
Doosan today took the wraps off its new Prime AP760 translator. As the company's new flagship, the laptop-shaped handheld is designed to cover virtually every aspect of visiting a new country, especially English-speaking nations: of the 103 dictionaries onboard, 41 are solely for English, the company says. The translator further adds a pronounciation guide and a touchscreen to the 4.6-inch display for recognizing southeast Asian characters.
Some multimedia options are also there for longer trips: MP3 playback is supported either from the internal stereo speakers or a set of earbuds, as is voice recording. Doosan ships the AP760 with a 1GB removable SD card on April 15th for $307 in its native Korea, though the company also has a shop for English-speaking customers that may offer the device soon.
Even as VoIP phone services become more prevalent, most of them are still based on landline Internet connections. EarthLink is poised to disturb this with an upcoming beta WiFi rollout, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Testing of a phone by Accton Technology has already been conducted on EarthLink's Anaheim network, but despite successes, is only now being considered for a wider test. The primary issue with WiFi phones is likely to be reliability -- while wireless disruptions to games and web browsing may be acceptable, customers may not be willing to tolerate the same with critical voice calls. [via CrunchGear]
Continuing its announcements, Philips has unveiled the DCD778. The entertainment system fastens underneath a kitchen cupboard to provide media in live or pre-recorded form: while an ATSC/NTSC hybrid tuner covers TV and an AM/FM tuner handles radio, a side-mounted iPod dock relays the audio and video of Apple's music player straight to the swiveling 8.5-inch LCD and fixed stereo speakers. A DVD drive further handles movies (including VCD/SVCD discs) and MP3 CDs.
Compatible with every fourth- or fifth-generation iPod as well as the smaller iPod mini and nano, the DCD 778 should be available as of next week at an official price of $400. [via iLounge]
Appealing to the rapidly expanding number of children who want cellphones, Kajeet has recently launched as a new cell carrier in the US. The company says that it understands the intelligence of children and gives them access to as many features as possible while still giving control to parents. Phones with the provider support both AIM chats and SMS texting rather as well as calls, and come with a set of stickers to help personalize their looks.
Pay-as-you-go service is the key to keeping the activity in check, Kajeet says. Calls are 10 cents per minute, while SMS texting is 5 cents; a web portal lets parents create virtual wallets to prevent children from overrunning a daily limit and to let parents top up an account if necessary. It's also possible to set 'blackout' periods when the phone can't be used at all, the provider says.
Known more for its home phones, Philips today released a new cellphone. The 598 clamshell is tailored to music lovers, the Dutch company says. Dedicated buttons on the outer shell control music playback, and MP3 playback is supported for songs either on the 128MB of internal memory or on microSD cards.
Simultaneously, the phone's software caters to stereotypically feminine needs: a shopping list tracker on the 598 helps manage discounts, and tools help calculate a person's body mass index as well as their metabolic rates. Calendaring and a dairy are also pre-installed on the phone, which is equipped with a 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth for its European release in the near future. [via Uberphones]
Clevo has been demonstrating its next-generation gaming notebook at CeBIT. The 17-inch M570RU will become one of the company's fastest desktop replacement systems, using mobile Core 2 Duo processors (versus the desktop chips of the D900C) but will have its own edge in graphics. Representatives at the CeBIT expo have confirmed that the system will use NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce Go 8800, boosting 3D speed as well as support for newer DirectX 10 and OpenGL visuals. A built-in subwoofer and 802.11n wireless should cement its media center credentials.
A release date for the M570RU hasn't been provided, but is anticipated shortly after the NVIDIA graphics chip is officially announced. Clevo's system is likely to appear in the US rebadged by companies such as Alienware or Sager. [via NotebookReview]
A new study by the famous Nielsen Media Research reveals noticeable evolution in the American television landscape. The average home received 104.2 channels in 2006, the first year that the average broke the symbolic 100-channel barrier; this is despite long-standing promises of a 500-channel universe. Disappointing to corporations may be the fact that while the average number of channels tuned rose to 15.7 from 15.4, the number of channels actually watched has continued to drop, falling from 16 to 15.1. This trend has been continuous since at least 1995, when the average number of channels received was limited to 41.1.
The lineups of the broadcast networks (ABC, Fox, et al.) have mutated as well. The most dramatic shift has been in the number of sitcoms, which sank from 35 in 2005 to 28 last year. Drama shows increased their domninance by four to sit at 67, while variety shows slipped by two to 13. Nielsen also notes that there are no longer any suspense or mystery programs on the major networks.
Japanese carrier SoftBank has picked up a new smartphone by Toshiba, the 911T. Befitting its competition, features are fairly substantial: it has Bluetooth, 1GB of onboard memory and a 3.2-megapixel camera, as well as a 1Seg TV tuner, and FeliCa transaction support. The phone also boasts a full complement of 3G functions such as video calls, which are delivered through WCDMA broadband. The 911T is now on sale in Japan in red, white, black and silver versions. [via Akihabara News]
Gotive at CeBIT today has unveiled its one-of-a-kind H42 GPS unit. Core to the design is an exceptionally wide 6.2-inch touchscreen that displays a large map even with a large amount of text information nearby. The long body needed for the design also gives it the distinctive option of turning into a mobile communicator with GSM phone functions built in for either lifting the H42 to your ear or using it as a speakerphone. Suitably, GPRS Internet is also packed in for basic Internet access.
Samsung continued its CeBIT introductions today by launching two new Bluetooth headsets. Similar to the earlier collaboration on the Serene cellphone, the WEP 420 (pictured) was designed with the help of Danish stereo makers Bang & Olufsen and supports their aesthetic with real functionalitty: a sliding cover not only hides the clutter of the call button but is also said to block interference, Samsung claims. The straight-edged charging cradle is also styled to work as an interior decoration. WEP 420 headsets ship in March for an unspecified price.
Sony could have preempted the iPod years in advance, the company's CEO Sir Howard Stringer has revealed in a still-unaired TV interview. The chief observed that despite the company's major delay in entering the digital music player business, it had actually co-developed technology that would have beaten Apple and potentially changed the fate of the Walkman, which has suffered ever since the iPod's introduction in 2001..
"In 1997 we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than Apple]," said Stringer. "But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it."
Small form factor PC designer Shuttle has just revealed the CarPC. Unlike its breadbox-sized desktops, the company's new chassis is specifically geared towards installations inside the often hot and narrow confines of cars. Only one small fan actively radiates heat; cooling fins around the majority of the case keep it cool under a seat or in the trunk. Power is also addressed with an intelligent system that runs the PC from the car's battery and safely turns off the system when the vehicle engine shuts down.
The base system will use a 1.83GHz Core Duo with Intel's dedicated graphics, DVI output, and 7.1-channel audio. Pricing and formal availability haven't been discussed. [via TweakTown]
Samsung has used CeBit to unveil its P110 clamshell phone. More flexible even than the U740, the P110 revolves around an extremely adjustable display. The screen's hinge slides around either the front or side of the phone to make a more comfortable fit for text messaging on the QWERTY keypad or for calling; it also rotates for watching wide-aspect videos without having to tilt the phone's main body.
The pivoting design still allows for a VGA camera and Bluetooth 2.0, according to Samsung, although the firm doesn't explain storage options beyond the 25MB of built-in memory. The P110 will be available soon in Asia and Europe, though a tri-band 900/1800/1900MHz GSM radio prevents an immediate launch in North America. Larger photos follow after the break.
Transgear has revealed its DVX-700 Type II media hub, which it says is one of the most connected network media hubs available. The device is one of the few to directly integrate web videos, searching for (using a USB keyboard) and playing Google Video clips directly on a TV. Owners can also play and record DVDs -- including the raw VIDEO_TS folders, Transgear adds. The 3.5-inch drive bay at the front is also designed to transfer content even without a network: desktop hard drives can easily slide out of the hub to connect to a PC through a USB 2.0 enclosure. DVI and D4 outputs connect the receiver to TVs as well as computer displays.
Cowon today confirmed that it would release the Cowon D2 within the US. Most of the features of the Korean version remain intact, which are highlighted by a 2.5-inch, 16 million-color touchscreen that serves as the main interface and keeps the player small. The Korean jukebox creator also pushes the sheer longevity and power of the D2 with an exceptionally long 52 hours of music playback, 10 hours of video, and 74mW output that helps drive sensitive headphones. FM radio and line-in recording are also supported, though T-DMB mobile TV is dropped due to the lack of US networks.
Fujtisu this morning became one of the first tablet PC designers to add flash-based drives to its lineup. Both the 8.9-inch, diminutive LifeBook P1610 and the 12.1-inch B6210 now have the option of either a 16GB or 32GB solid-state drive in place of their normal hard disks. While this shrinks the available storage, Fujitsu says the changeover is worthwhile for the users most likely to use a convertible tablet: the lack of moving parts guards against a sudden drop and also extends the amount of valuable battery life.
Both models are otherwise similar to their originals, with a 1.2GHz ultra-low Core Solo processor forming the backbone of their performance. Prices for the option weren't revealed but should command a premium over hard disk versions.
BenQ today introduced the second model in its Performance series of cameras with the P860. Its compact frame hides an unusually strong 6X optical zoom; this is equal to a 37-222mm lens on a 35mm film camera and great for long-distance shots, BenQ says. Optical stabilization is also onboard for sharpening close-up and nighttime scenes.
The company further promises 640x480 movie recording at a full 30 frames per second, ISO 1000 sensitivity, and SDHC card support for when the 18MB of internal memory and the normal 2GB limit of SD cards runs out. China, Italy, Russia, and Spain will receive the P860 by the end of March with prices to vary. No indication was made as to whether or not other regions will see the camera at a later date. [via Let's Go Digital]
Toshiba on Monday launched its brand new Gigabeat U. Although a pocket-sized flash player, the device stands out for its FM music sharing feature: a combination of an FM radio and transmitter let the U series stream music wirelessly from one Gigabeat to another just by matching frequencies. The new jukebox also continues the Japanese tradition of direct audio recording and has its own line-in jack for recording from a CD or tape deck directly to MP3s.
Audio quality is stronger than one would expect for the class, according to the electronics giant, with a 1-bit DAC cleaning the signal for playback. A 96x96 battery-efficient OLED screen helps the tiny player display JPEG photos as well as keep its MP3/WAV/WMA playback running for 20 hours.
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