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The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, is proposing that the organization continue its long-standing ban on in-flight cellphone calls, says USA Today. Most of the FCC's commissioners are said to support Martin's position. While a lifting of the ban was proposed back in 2004, support has since lost momentum, mainly due to a lack of interest from wireless companies and the public.
Technical problems have persisted as well: hardware developed by AirCell was to have prevented intereference with ground calls, but initial tests failed, and the company is now retooling its product. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration has only recently begun testing the effect of cellphones on navigation equipment, the most frequently cited reason for the ban's existence. Some are also supporting it not because of safety concerns, but because of the noise and distraction cellphones might cause. The ban is only likely to be overturned in the near future if this year's planned European deployment proves successful.
Saitek today hoped to inject color into the typically conservative world of notebook mice with its PM09 collection. The green, pink, orange, and yellow mice are a good fit for Easter baskets, Saitek claims. Each is ambidextrous, rounded, and rubberized for a steady grip no matter which hand is used. Tracking is handled by an 800 DPI optical sensor.
All four colors of the holiday-themed, three-button scroll mouse are available today for $20 and plugs into virtually any USB-equipped computer. [via CrunchGear]
Reflex has recently previewed the Paradox, a gamepad for those devoted to first-person games and other fast-action titles. Its signature change from Sony's reference Dual Shock controller is the replacement of the right analog stick with a trackball; Reflex claims the control scheme offers finer-grained and faster input for games where the stick would normally be used for aiming or viewing.
iRiver started its Friday by revealing the T50, its newest flash-based music player. The prism-like jukebox promises a unique look and a display rarely if ever seen at its size and price range: the 1-inch display is a full, 65,000-color LCD that allows a much more visual interface. The screen is vivid enough to display BMP photos, says iRiver.
Music playback is supported for MP3/OGG/WMA tracks and is backed up by an FM tuner as well as a voice recording tool that stores up to 72 hours of clips on the 1GB device. Battery life is rated at 18 hours on a solitary AAA battery. The T50 will be available in black or white on April 14th at a price of $85 in Japan, and should make its way to other areas soon. Click through for full shots. [via Impress]
Breaking the restrictions imposed by Intel, Vestel at CeBIT launched one of the first public demonstrations of a portable using Intel's new Santa Rosa platform for mobile PCs. The 15-inch system on show, codenamed the DJR154SG, was confirmed to be using the fastest known version of the new Core 2 Duo: the 2.4GHz T7700 not only eclipses the 2.33GHz of today's chips and relies on a faster 800MHz bus for a greater incrase in speed.
The system further uses Intel's unannounced GMA X3100 graphics chip for faster 3D speed without a costlier dedicated video chipset, and HDMI for outputting a full 1080p signal to a TV. Unique to Vestel is a circual navigation pad (bottom right) for navigating music and other files without resorting to the keyboard or mouse.
Creative at CeBIT demonstrated its first-ever sound card designed for modern notebooks. So far titled only the X-Fi Notebook, the adapter will plug into the ExpressCard 54 slot of newer portables and uses the faster standard to provide sound closer to the kind found with internal sound cards on desktops. The base card includes its own analog/optical input and output connections for simpler speaker arrangements; an attachable breakout box provides more connections for more complex setups.
Despite the early showing, Creative has not officially announced the X-Fi Notebook nor given launch details, though it should be available within the next few months at a price comparable to its $100, PC Card-based Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. [via NotebookReview]
A US federal judge today issued an injunction against Vonage, asking the voice-over-IP provider to immediately stop infringing on patents held by the phone company Verizon. The ruling follows a $58 million award to Verizon earlier in the month granted after a jury found that Vonage had caused harm to the carrier's phone business in three separate instances.
An upheld decision could potentially prove crippling for the Internet-based phone service by blocking the company's V-Phones (pictured) and routers from working on Verizon's networks, which cover a large portion of the country. The judge rejected Vonage's claim that siding with Verizon would hurt the public interest.
Hoping to come to the rescue of Chinese and others whose languages often make typing difficult, Hanwang has unveiled its handwriting mouse. Its body is carved out to reveal a tablet specifically tailored for writing characters; in its current design, the mouse is set up to recognize and transmit Mandarin characters drawn on the mouse using a stylus that hides in a small compartment when not in use.
The mouse is otherwise completely functional as a three-button scroll mouse and ships in any one of five colors in its native China. Pricing and availability aren't readily available. [ PC Launches]
Taiwanese maker Giga-Byte has released new information regarding a pair of upcoming phones. Though previously announced, the G-Smart q60 now has a more detailed photo, and appears to have shifted somewhat in its specifications. It has migrated to the Vista-like Windows Mobile 6.0, and instead of EDGE and UMTS broadband, it appears to have switched to HSDPA and WCDMA.
The next phone is the previously-shrouded t600, which is said to be the first to combine DVB-H and DVB-T TV tuners. It will also tune in DAB/T-DMB radio, and be able to record MP4 video using its two-megapixel camera. AAC, MP3 and AAC+ files will be supported, and data connections will include GPRS, Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g. Both the q60 and t600 should ship to Asia in April, with European distribution likely within several months. Click through for the new images. [via Akihabara News]
Vodafone is the prime candidate to carry the iPhone when it reaches Europe, according to The Guardian's Richard Wray. The editor points to anonymous industry experts who suggest that the provider is currently the leader in a bid for an exclusive deal with Apple. The California-based firm's main goal is universal distribution, the report notes. As one of the few cellular services to address most of Europe, Vodafone would give Apple a single company with which to negotiate its terms.
G-NET on Friday reworked its CarPC for drivers who want quick access to a computer while on the road. The computer itself is housed in a toughened shell designed to run at temperatures as low as -40F or as high as 149F. Nevertheless, the system has received a performance upgrade: the 1.5GHz Via C7 processor that drives the system is 50 percent faster than its predecessor, the company says. Memory has also been stepped up to 1GB, with storage similarly expanding to 80GB.
The base PC is sold today for $995 as a stand-alone device bundled with a wireless mouse/keyboard hybrid, but can be accompanied by an in-dash LCD as well as GPS, Sirius satellite radio, or car diagnostics modules for an extra price. [via TG Daily]
Verizon today launched the second phone in its mobile TV lineup, the LG VX9400. In contrast with the Samsung U620 that originally launched the service at the start of this month, the VX9400 follows in the tradition of southeast Asian phones with a pivoting display that adjusts to fit the wider resolutions of digital TV. Other features common to many of LG's American phones are also present, such as a 1.3-megapixel camera and EVDO broadband.
Obtaining the phone requires both a regular subscription and Verizon's VCAST TV service available in specific areas of the US. Pricing is currently unavailable.
At its booth for this week's CeBIT expo in Hannover, Germany, Korean company SoundGraph took the time to demonstrate a new control screen for computers. Simply known as the Front View, it should allow owners of standard desktop PCs to convert them into "proper" Media Center systems -- that is, machines that can plug into a TV and don't require a keyboard to operate. The Front View is a 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen, which mounts into one of the panels of a computer and enables control of functions such as music selection, with active feedback such as track info and a visualizer. Owing to the early state of the product, no release date has been set, and it may even be strictly for OEMs. [via AVING]
With an earlier MacBook having caught on fire despite a battery recall, a new incident may be evidence of mounting hardware troubles for Apple. A reader of Jason O'Grady's blog at ZDNet has sent in photo evidence of cracks located around the hinges, vents and the entire back edge of his MacBook. Critically, the reader says he has never been rough with his computer, keeping it either on his desk or in a suede-lined messenger bag. Apple has offered to repair the casing for free since the laptop is still under warranty, but O'Grady asks if there may not be more unreported fractures.
Honeywell has filed a lawsuit in Texas against several LCD TV producers, according to the Taipei Times. The American company claims that key manufacturers -- including ASUS, BenQ, and assembly firms such as AU Optronics -- have violated a patent it holds in the US relating to anti-flicker compensation. The infringment has caused "irreparable harm" to Honeywell's business, the suit reads.
Sagem has just released its keenly-focused my215x cellphone. The cellphone designer's new model is aimed squarely at first-time or budget users who still want a genuinely capable music player, and trims the features to match: while stripped of a camera or Bluetooth, the my215x packs an unusually large 256MB of built-in flash memory and has dedicated, easily identifiable music controls for navigating MP3 songs. Talk time is just short of four hours with 255 hours on standby mode, claims Sagem.
The handset is one of Sagem's least expensive and is available first in the UK through Vodafone, which retails the phone for £40 ($79). See a full image after the jump. [via Pocket-lint]
Procare today unveiled the eShare 8068, a relatively rare take on network storage. Rather than insist on carrying its own drive, the device can automatically convert any hard disk into a privately-accessible network resource by using an enclosure to plug the drive in through a USB port. The eShare unit also contains its own BitTorrent client and will automatically download queued torrents regardless of the computers active on the local network. An owner can also open up remote access -- even with other eShare members, the company says -- and use the device as a one-button backup option for a given computer.
Availability for Procare's add-on outside of its Taiwan home is currently unknown, though the company does sell outside of the country.
Many cellphones are said to be world-roaming, but the U520 by Korean maker Ubiquam, carried by Russia's Skylink, takes a somewhat different approach. The phone has receivers for both CDMA and GSM networks, and also supports their data services -- though only CDMA gets broadband, reaching speeds of up to 2.4Mbps through 1x EVDO. The phone is further limited by its bands, since it is only dual-band (900/1800) on GSM, and single-band (450) on CDMA. Features less dependent on networks include Bluetooth and a two-megapixel camera. The phone is selling for approximately 17,110-17,690 rubles ($590-610). [via Unwired View]
Casio on Friday released a single new camera targeted directly at camera users who want the advantages of some more expensive cameras without some of the added costs. The Exilim EX-Z11 has the 7.2-megapixel sensor and 3X optical zoom increasingly common with many compact cameras, but also incorporates an anti-shake processor for stabilizing the image. The camera also claims ISO 800 sensitivity and a full VGA-quality video mode; Casio's own BEST SHOT mode can force the max ISO setting in either movies or still photos.
The camera is currently only available in Germany as a special retail offering, where it sells for the equivalent of $589. No mention was made of an American model. Photos follow after the break. [via Let's Go Digital]
The Apple TV has already been hacked to run non-supported video formats, according to a pair of forum users. Confirming Walt Mossberg's claim that the media hub runs a custom version of Mac OS X, the technique involves removing the hard drive and mounting it on a Mac, where it appears as a native HFS volume. Installing the SSH server Dropbear, the video container Perian, and a custom script lets the Apple TV play files outside of its normal MPEG-4 and H.264 standards.
Canadian notebook maker Eurocom has just updated its flagship notebook series with the D900C Phantom. Based closely on the Taiwan-only Clevo notebook with a similar name, the 17-inch system is designed almost exclusively for gamers and pro 3D users with desktop components. In Eurocom form, the system uses a desktop-class Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme as well as an MXM mobile graphics card slot that lets owners install any of multiple NVIDIA-made video chipsets -- including the gaming-friendly dual 512MB GeForce Go 7950 GTX or the upcoming GeForce Go 8000 series, the company is keen to point out.
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