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Nokia luxury subsidiary Vertu is releasing a new Limited Edition phone, the Ascent Ferrari 1947. Marking the sports car company's 60th birthday, the phone is clad in the familiar red and black colors, with leather used on the rear and lacquer on the sides. Meanwhile, the bezel "nose" of the front bears the Ferrari horse, and the aluminum backplate is built to resemble a Ferrari brake pedal. A matching case is made of red and black leather. Though no pricing has been mentioned, only 1,947 copies of the phone will be sold; in light of other Vertu phones, the cost could easily approach or exceed $1,000. [via Newlaunches]
Sony Europe has announced two pairs of headphones designed primarily for notebooks, as evidenced by their small size and short cables. The DR-EX230DP is an in-ear headset that nevertheless has its own, in-line microphone, and boasts other accessories, such as a travel case and three sizes of silicone earbuds. Its connection cable, however, is only 3.9 feet long. Audio is pumped through 9mm drivers.
The DR-G250DP (pictured) is a set of over-the-ear headphones, and is built with an adjustable neckband and a retractable, noise-cancelling "pipe" microphone. Its main advantage is a longer cable measuring 9.8 feet, but the neckband also collapses, which makes the headphones easier to store in baggage. G250DPs should be on sale now; EX230DPs will begin shipping later this month.
HP today attacked the desktop side of the pro market by launching the dx2300 workstation. The small, matte black microtower is designed to be as flexible as possible and can be custom-ordered for the most essentialist purposes or as a moderate performance system for processing-intensive work. Buyers can opt for as little as a Celeron D or as much as a Core 2 Duo; HP also accommodates the open-source movement by shipping a version with FreeDOS to facilitate installing Linux. Integrated Intel graphics are the norm but can be expanded through a PCI Express x16 slot.
Although officially priced starting at $499, the dx2300 can be ordered today for as little as $378 with a 2.66GHz Celeron D, 256MB of RAM, and FreeDOS. A version with a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo, 512MB of RAM, and Windows Vista Business costs $835.
Dell will soon begin shipping computers in the US pre-installed with Linux, the company said today on its Ideas in Action news blog. The system builder promised to offer both desktops and portables with the open-source OS in the near future after a questionnaire showed that over 70 percent of respondents were willing to use Linux at home or at work. Forum-based software help would be enough as long as drivers and hardware support was present, the customers said.
No timetable was given for adding Linux as a choice for new systems, but an update was promised in coming weeks which would outline which PCs and Linux variants would be available.
The cellphone business needs to take a cue from Apple if it hopes to survive, EMI's chief Eric Nicoli urged at a CTIA phone expo keynote on Wednesday. The record label head pointed to the iPhone as a prime example of where the cellphone music industry should be headed, noting that Apple and its future handset put their emphasis on an affordable, simple, and desirable product above all else.
"Apple makes stuff that people love to own," Nicoli observed. "They love the simplicity and user-friendliness of the iPod and iTunes. Apple doesn't employ any sorcery or dark magic to achieve this. They listen to what consumers want. And that shouldn't be Apple's unique privilege."
Striving to create an ideal companion for runs, Paroos has just unveiled its G-100 GPS Training System. An integral GPS receiver not only keeps track of position but uses its statistics to keep runners on target for exercise, notifying wearers when they've traveled a certain distance or warning them when they fall under a minimum speed. 512MB of flash onboard will save as many as 1500 runs for comparison and can alternately serve as a motivator by holding and playing MP3 songs. An FM tuner and a thermometer provide extra sources of fun and information.
Those interested in the G-100 can pick it up in black, silver, or white with a matching armband. Paroos hasn't discussed pricing or availability but hopes to sell to English-speaking countries as well as its Korean home territory. [via NaviGadget]
KFE today delivered an alternative to typical DV cameras in the form of the EXEMODE DV528. Recording of VGA-quality video is accomplished using the more efficient XviD standard instead of MPEG-4 or DV, allowing the pocket-sized camera to capture larger amounts of video either to the 64MB of internal memory or to SD cards as large as 2GB. The 5-megapixel sensor will also take still shots at its native 3840×2880 resolution, while both movie and photo recording are helped by an 8X optical zoom lens. MP3 playback is added as a bonus, the company adds.
A release day and an accompanying price for the DV528 remain a mystery. It should be available soon to its home country of Japan and may ship elsewhere at a later date.
Hop-On today took the wraps off its HOP1955 wireless router. Both 802.11g Wi-Fi and a CDMA transmitter are onboard and let the network switch share cellular Internet access with any computer or device that can connect to its Wi-Fi hotspot or one of the four integrated Ethernet ports. Support for 3G wireless standards like EVDO and HSDPA means the base station can be used as an impromptu Internet gateway for a gaming center, the company says.
Security is still up to par with Wi-Fi-only routers, with 128-bit WEP encryption and a VPN option for tapping into a remote network. Pricing and availability haven't been revealed but will have the HOP1955 released worldwide in the near future.
Despite having been one of the first companies to sell a Media Center PC, HP has decided to drop its Digital Entertainment Center line, featuring systems with large hard drives and a host of AV connections for abilities such as DVR programming and VHS video conversion. The company will instead focus on its new MediaSmart televisions, which use custom software to play media from a remote computer, much like Microsoft's Media Center Extender.
While HP channel development manager Doug Robert will only cite "resource constraints" to explain the switch, CE Pro speculates that DECs may simply not be selling, since they often require complicated setup processes and are saddled with artificial DRM restrictions. The computers can also be as noisy as regular desktop systems, disrupting the quiet environment of a home theater.
Samsung's AnyCall label today launched a new phone in its premier Mobile Intelligent Terminal range: the M8100 straddles the line between smartphones and PDAs by resembling a slider phone but having the dimensions and 2.8-inch touchscreen of a larger handheld. Wireless is also its specialty, with fourth-generation cellular wireless available through the company's self-developed WiBro and mobile digital TV available through a DMB receiver. More conventional features of the Windows Mobile 6-driven handset are said to include legacy EVDO broadband, Bluetooth, and a 2-megapixel camera.
Google and LG have reached a deal to pre-install software on the latter company's phones, says Reuters. Beginning in the second quarter of this year, services such as Maps, Gmail and Blogger will be hardwired into at least 10 different handsets, in theory reducing bandwidth demands when users go searching for data. The deal bolsters speculation that Google's recent hires were not to build its own cellphone, but rather to extend its reach into the mobile realm, where both connections and awareness of Google may be limited.
Continuing its announcements this week, Motorola has officially launched the MOTOTRBO, a two-way radio system that also combines GPS, pager and text messaging capabilities. It is able to run in either analog or digital modes, and by using TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) technology, the TRBO platform should allow double the capacity on repeater channels. Mototola proposes that in some cases this will let businesses use half the number of repeaters to begin with. Meanwhile, battery life on the radios is said to be 40 percent higher than analog rivals. Because the TRBO is a professional system, buyers need to contact Motorola directly.
HP today quietly released a pair of notebooks under its Compaq label that cater to workers and other no-frills computer users. The 14-inch 6515b and 15.4-inch 6715b together go without webcams or other media-centric features but compensate with strong wireless choices: either can be loaded with 802.11n wireless for faster networks or an internal EVDO or HSDPA adapter for 3G wireless from cellular carriers. The entire range relies on AMD's single- or dual-core mobile processors.
Either system starts at $649 with a 1.8GHz Sempron CPU, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD/CD-RW Combo drive; pre-built systems can be ordered with a 2GHz dual-core Turion 64 X2, 1GB of RAM, a 120GB disk and a DVD rewriter with LightScribe support. [via LAPTOP Magazine]
Sony's European branch today saw the introduction of the GIGA JUKE, a new digital-savvy bookshelf speaker set. Rarely available outside of Japan, the stereo includes its own 80GB hard disk and an LCD interface to both play and transfer ATRAC, MP3, or linear PCM audio diretly from the drive: owners can connect a PC or portable music player to copy unprotected songs over or bypass them entirely by ripping CDs at a fast 16X speed. Track titles are automatically applied to songs the hardware doesn't recognize, Sony says, and the system can intelligently auto-generate playlists based on artists, genres, or even the music's tempo.
Verizon Wireless has become one of the first carriers to sell the T605, Motorola's latest Bluetooth car kit. Though it must be professionally installed, it allows owners to hear music and calls directly through their car speakers, synching with Bluetooth devices automatically when the ignition is started. A previously unmentioned feature is scaled volume adjustment -- as ambient noise increases, so does speaker volume. The kit also pauses and resumes music as calls begin and end. Verizon and Circuit City will begin selling the 605 for $150 on April 6th.
Ricoh on Wednesday surprised photographers with its Caplio GX100. Bridging the gap between point-and-shoot and digital SLRs, the GX100 centers around a fixed but wide-angle 24-72mm equivalent lens with 3X optical zoom. The optics provide a better way of composing wide shots and can go wider still with a 19mm conversion lens, Ricoh says. Also separating it from most compacts is a hot-shoe that can be used for either an external flash or an external, electronic viewfinder as an alternative to the 2.5-inch LCD. Ricoh's self-made viewfinder pivots by up to 90 degrees and offers 100 percent coverage of the shot and operates similar to a DSLR by providing status info through the eyepiece.
Today marks Microsoft's long-awaited released of the 1.3 firmware update for the Zune media player. The primary fix involves skipping some users experienced when playing tracks, namely those downloaded from the Zune Marketplace. The update also improves reliability in device detection and synching, and may potentially increase battery life dramatically, as a glitch previously allowed the FM tuner to drain the battery while the rest of the player was in Sleep mode. Future versions are promised to add features as well as general updates. To load the 1.3 update, users must sync their player with a PC, start the Zune software, and then right-click their device and select the appropriate option. [via Zune Insider]
Newton today officially unveiled the MoGo Headset. Its extremely thin 5mm (0.2-inch) design takes on the common problem of carrying and charging most Bluetooth earpieces, the firm says. The headset attaches directly to a cellphone for storage and charges from its host, using the power charger for the cellphone to replenish both devices at the same time. Future cellphones should even have built-in space to connect the device, Newton adds. Notebook owners have the third option of plugging the new MoGo directly into an ExpressCard 34 or PC Card slot to power the headset and keep it safe. Battery life is rated at 6 hours of continuous talking in spite of the small profile.
No pricing or launch timeframes were mentioned in the company's announcement, though the Bluetooth 2.0 communicator should be available soon.
Sony on Wednesday bolstered its HDTV front projectors with two new models that it claims bring HD projection to more viewers. The AW10 and AW15 (pictured) each sport a native 720p resolution that Sony says is ideal for both gaming and HD viewing; an HDMI input on either model can handle video as sharp as 1080p at 24 frames per second and will automatically downscale or upscale the picture to fit. Each also has component, S-video, and RCA inputs. The projectors are relatively bright at 1,100 lumens and quiet at 20 decibels.
Apple's mobile devices are likely to cause a major shortage of NAND flash memory later this year, according to Samsung's semiconductor chief Chang-Gyu Hwang. The Korean executive told a gathering of mobile developers that the iPhone in particular, other mobile phones, as well as high-capacity 4-8GB flash players (such as the iPod nano) were set to create a "severe" drought in flash storage where demand would far outstrip the available supply. This was in part due to many flash suppliers deliberately cutting back their production levels, Hwang said.
Sling Media today released a public beta of SlingPlayer for Palm OS, giving owners of Treos running Palm's own software the opportunity to watch TV streamed over the Internet or local Wi-Fi from any Slingbox tuner as well as remote control TiVos and other DVRs to schedule shows in advance.
The beta is currently free and requires a Treo 700p with EVDO mobile Internet access as well as a Mac or PC to negotiate streaming across the Internet. The finished version is expected later in the spring and should sell for $30.
Microsoft on Wednesday launched its own counter to Apple's new set-top device and iTunes with its new HDMI-enabled Xbox 360 Elite game console and new HD content offerings on Xbox LIVE--the Redmond-based company's internet-based gaming and media marketplace. Microsoft's announcement of HD movies from Paramount and Warner brothers upstages Apple's own iTunes offerings, which are currently only available in standard definition, despite the recent release of its HD-enabled Apple TV set-top box. The new, improved Xbox 360 Elite--a direct competitor to Apple TV--now offers a black wireless controller a matching black headset, HDMI output for resolution up to 1080i, and DVD playback with upscaling capability. The new Xbox LIVE internet marketplace will also add TV series and movies from A&E Network, ADV Films, National Geographic and TotalVid.com, augmenting the 1,500 hours of downloadable entertainment content already available in the US on Xbox LIVE.
Following the recent photo confirmation of its existence, Microsoft on Tuesday officially announced its Xbox 360 Elite, a new model of the video game and entertainment system that will include a 120GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a high-definition cable, and a premium black finish for the console, wireless controller and Xbox LIVE headset. The "Elite" system has enough space for a library of Xbox LIVE Arcade games and thousands of songs, as well as downloadable high-definition TV shows and movies available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the company said. In addition, the new 120GB hard drive also will be sold as a stand-alone accessory for current Xbox 360 owners.
The company also announced that other Xbox 360 Elite accessories, such as the black Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit and the Xbox 360 rechargeable battery, will be available separately. The Xbox 360 Elite and related accessories will be available for $479.99 in the US on April 29th.
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