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While not professional equipment, Tokyu Hands of Japan is selling the Portable Electric Drum Set, which offers much more convenient percussion. The playing surface is actually a 20-inch rubber mat, which users tap with sticks to trigger eight different drum effects in the accompanying control unit. Belying its less serious nature, it comes with a variety of pre-recorded songs and rhythms to play along with. The drum kit is currently on the market for 9,240 yen ($78). [via Tokyomango]
Intel has become one of the first companies to ship an OLPC-type machine in the form of the Classmate, which should soon be arriving in bulk in Brazil and Mexico. While only one computer is technically an OLPC, the term has come to apply to any system designed for schoolchildren in poor countries, where many institutions cannot afford even a so-called budget system.
The Classmate is a small, ruggedized laptop with extremely minimal specifications. It uses a 900MHz Celeron M processor for instance, and has only a seven-inch screen, and 1 to 2GB of flash as permanent storage. It is mostly dependent on Intel-assisted network infrastructure, to which it can connect through 10/100 Ethernet or 802.11b/g wireless. Future countries expected to buy or receive Classmates include China, India, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam.
Palm late on Thursday revealed that it had turned a profit in its most recent quarter, earning $11.8 million. The company added that it had also smashed its all-time sales record, with sales jumping over 30 percent year-to-year and 738,000 of its Treo smartphones trading hands. Similar results should follow throughout the rest of the spring, Palm said.
Conspicuously, the company has made no mention of the hotly-speculated takeover bid that had reportedly been in the works for the company's fiscal report today, suggesting either a delay or an inaccurate source. Speculation had reached a fever pitch yesterday when it was claimed that Motorola led bidding in an attempt to counter Apple and Research in Motion.
KVH opened the Palm Beach Boat Show today with a pair of new satellite HDTV receivers for boats. The 18-inch M5 and 24-inch M7 bring a new, optimized antenna dubbed RingFire to bear when out at sea. Because of their specially-tuned dishes and low-noise converters, the domes catch up to a 30 percent stronger signal than anything the company has released to date -- and often beat much larger receivers, KVH points out. The net effect is to let boat passengers watch TV even on the fringes of coverage or in harsh weather.
Either model can link to a matching TracPhone dome for making satellite phone calls and receives TV from satellite operators across all the Americas and Europe. Prices aren't listed but should climb above the $2,995 mark set by the TracVision M3 released last month.
Microsoft is planning to release a fourth official color for the Zune, EBGames has confirmed through a posting on its website. The new model will come in all-pink with a black directional pad. Unlike the deep pink special edition handed out to company team members and seeded randomly in shipping units, however, the official Zune will come in a powdery pink with bright metallic lining and a white glow from the signature double-shot plastic shell.
Capacity of the player is unchanged from the 30GB original, however, dashing hopes of an early fulfillment of Microsoft's promise of upgraded Zunes in 2007. The price should still reach $250 when the device goes on sale May 1st. [via ClicZune]
London-based luxury designer Luvaglio is boasting that it has developed a million-dollar notebook. Although the specifications are currently unavailable, the firm notes that much of the cost stems from its use of luxurious materials. Buyers have the choice of relatively exotic materials such as pink leather or finished black wood for the outer shell, and gold or other precious metals for the lining; even diamonds are said to be part of the system. A matching case holds the system without seeming out of place in a home or office's decor.
The luxury agency doesn't list the price or other details of the system and asks instead that its customers get in direct contact to order the system. See larger photos after the break. [via Luxury Launches]
Cable TV network Starz Entertainment said on Thursday that it was suing the Walt Disney Company, accusing the latter of violating an exclusivity agreement by offering its movies through online stores such as Apple's iTunes Store and Wal-Mart's Video Downloads service. Filed in Los Angeles, the suit alleges that Disney broke a 2005 deal which gave Starz sole rights to Disney movies for an unpublicized amount of time on both its TV channel and its Vongo online store.
NEC at CeBIT ramped up the quality of its digital cinema projectors by unveiling the NC2500C. Its power is geared towards truly large-scale viewing and displays an ultra high-definition 2K picture (2048x1080) on screens as large as 82 feet across. The DLP projection system is equally powerful at 25,000 lumens and pairs with a fully motorized lens that will automatically remember a pre-defined position. Dual DVI ports and a single VGA connection provide video input.
The 2500C's price and availability are unavailable, but should be oriented towards professionals and other high-end customers. [via AVING]
Niveus late yesterday rolled out its 2007 line of home theater PCs catering to the higher end of the spectrum. The Rainier series marks the first from the company for those enthusiasts who want a serious home theater but don't need the firm's premium Denali line. Each computer is four inches tall and can easily fit in a TV stand while still remaining silent through a passive cooling system.
They also bring much stronger HDTV viewing options to the company's line: the 500HD and 750HD both feature HD DVD drives for watching 1080p movies, while all four Rainier versions optionally hook into Niveus' new Digital Cable Receiver with dual CableCARD tuners to legally play and record cable HDTV on the computer itself.
Speaking to a hearing of the US International Trade Commission, Sprint and Verizon have urged the government not to adopt a plan suggested for a patent infringement suit. Broadcom has proposed that since Qualcomm was ruled to have violated a patent on battery-saving technology, the solution may be an import ban on phones using Qualcomm chipsets. According to Sprint and Verizon however, the problem is that they need the chips to provide EVDO -- a standard created by Qualcomm, and the most widespread form of broadband for American CDMA networks.
The ITC hearing should continue through the week, with testimony today coming from companies such as Samsung and Motorola, as well as government safety experts, who are expected to argue that a ban would harm emerency services. The ban is as yet tentative. [via Reuters]
Communications giant AT&T gave its IP-based TV subscribers an extra option on Thursday by revealing U-verse OnTheGo. The service extends the company's existing broadcasts by letting subscribers watch a mix of pre-recorded and live content from their PCs without requiring any special equipment; a broadband Internet connection is enough for most computers, AT&T says. Though some content is pre-recorded, key channels such as Bloomberg and The Weather Channel are broadcast live, making AT&T's option one of the first networks to air live shows on both computers and TVs.
Choosing OnTheGo adds $10 to the existing monthly rate for U-verse, which is available in a limited number of cities and currently requires a Windows XP system. The company promises, however, to expand its coverage and offer more channels in the future.
With television profits being increasingly threatned by the rise of sites like YouTube, NBC Universal and News Corp. (owners of Fox, IGN and MySpace) have announced a new video site to debut this summer. Though it is nameless for the time being, the site already has substantial content planned: users will be able to watch clips and full episodes of shows such as "Heroes," "House" and "30 Rock," and movies already on tap include "Borat," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Devil Wears Prada."
What may make the site a genuine threat however is revenue and distribution -- while many other video sites are supported by advertising, NBC and News Corp. have already managed to secure parties such as Intel, General Motors and Cadbury Schweppes to support the videos. The site is likewise guaranteed to be ubiquitous, since distribution partners include AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo. These corporations will in turn use custom embedded players to retain the look of subsites.
An anonymous reader of Hiptop3.com claims to have acquired a slide from a T-Mobile national marketing meeting in California, which suggests that a new phone is in development called the "Sidekick X RAZR." As would be expected, the slide also implies a collaboration between Danger and Motorola, the creators of the original Sidekick and RAZR phones.
The new phone is actually described as a "multimedia device," which suggests that it may play video as well as audio files, although this is by no means guaranteed. It may refer as much to the existing capabilities of the Sidekick, which supports text, e-mail and instant messaging, as well as full-fidelity web browsing. No other details are available. [via Hiptop3.com]
Nokia has patented a new smartphone design that would give an even greater amount of control, according to a newly discovered filing. The device would not only have a slide-out keyboard but also a pivoting number pad: while it would slide out for normal calling, it would also rotate into place next to the keyboard for spreadsheets or steering using the directional pad. The design would also have a space near the display for a separate control scheme.
Click through for more details and complete images.
Alienware today said it had upped the speed of the Area-51 ALX desktop with overclocked quad-core processors. The company says it has ramped up the speed of the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 to 3.2GHz, far outstripping the 2.66GHz of Intel's stock factory model. The extra performance gives the system the headroom for future games while still having the raw clock speed needed to run today's games quickly, the system builder says.
A base ALX ships for $5,751 with the 3.2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 500GB of hard drive space, and dual GeForce 8800 GTX video cards. Less demanding users can also opt for a limited-run Area-51 7500, which starts at $3,448 with half the RAM and storage as well as a 512MB GeForce 7950 GT.
In what may be an unexpected move, the US branch of the human rights charity Amnesty International has begun a cellular network, Amnesty Wireless. It is actually running as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) like Amp'd Mobile, but is using Sprint's CDMA network, and is donating 10 percent of its charges to its parent organization. Furthermore, monthly statements will also highlight new human rights issues, and subscribers will be able to make up to 30 minutes of free calls to targeted leaders.
To encourage switchers, Amnesty is offering a free LG 225 phone with up to 200 anytime minutes, unlimited night and weekend calls, and $175 towards buying out a previous contract. Calls to other Amnesty users will be free, and the 225 offer costs only $30 a month. [via MobileBurn]
Samsung has added to its LCD TV line today with three new LCD sets for its PAVV TV line. A continuation of the Bordeaux design named after its resemblance to a wine glass, the new 40-, 46-, and 52-inch TVs rest at the top of the company's line with exceptionally high contrast: each of the sets uses Samsung's dynamic adjustments to manage a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. Every screen also uses Wide Color Control Plus to keep images vivid across the entire display.
TDK today started shipping some of the first-ever printable BD-R discs. The single-layer, 25GB discs let compatible printers write labels on the drives from the edge to the hub of the disc without having to worry about damage; as with the company's normal writable Blu-Ray discs, the printable kind has a DURABIS coating that can withstand even deliberate scratching in most cases.
Versions of the disc are being made available today for inkjet and thermal printers at a price of $25 each; at the moment, the new storage is currently only printable using professional equipment but should allow home use with supporting drives in the future.
Hammer Storage this morning became a heavyweight in media backup drives with the myshare network storage device. The enclosure holds a pair of hard drives and serves as a central hub for a home's files regardless of the computer or device: no software is needed to access the drive from a Linux, Mac, or Windows PC, and any computer can access those same contents through the Web. Two USB ports also let the hub share printers or backup and share any outside USB storage.
Motorola and Amp'd on Thursday have officially launched the Moto Q Amp'd Edition. As was leaked early by the company, the virtual carrier's version of the Q turns the smartphone into a primarily multimedia device with live Internet TV, an online music store, and full stereo Bluetooth audio for wireless headphones and speakers. The QWERTY keyboard (the first on Amp'd phones) helps tackle social networking, the carrier says.
Pricing hasn't yet been provided for the US edition, but the company has confirmed that choosing the Moto Q with Amp'd Mobile Canada will cost $40 Canadian per month with unlimited media streaming and 8MB of regular data.
Nokia this morning announced that the long-awaited N95 smartphone has started shipping. The device drew attention during its September announcement for its design and sheer number of features: the slider design operates in two directions, giving quick access to music controls one way as well as a keypad in the other. A 5-megapixel camera, support for 3G wireless through HSDPA, and GPS mapping are still present in the finished version.
Notably, however, the N95 is currently being released to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. No mention has been made of an American launch, although the company has said that its phone supports the country's networks. A release in the US will likely occur later in the year through AT&T.
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