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Mexico City may become one of the next major cities to have wireless on every street, according to the Associated Press. Despite having troubles simply supplying water and electricity, mayor Marcelo Ebrard claims he intends to provide WiFi coverage to all of Mexico City's 8.7 million (official) residents, and this in the near future. "The city government is giving this project the highest priority," Ebrard is quoted as saying. An agreement has already been signed with China's ZTE, which will scatter the WiFi hotspots through schools, government offices and surveillance cameras. The move is a part of Ebrard's campaign to gentrify Mexico City, bringing it into line with wealthier capitals in other countries.
Korean maker Sky has premiered a new phone concept, which while unlikely to reach production, may indicate the direction of future products. The most notable aspect is its shell, which is not only angular and encased in glossy black plastic, but extremely thin -- close to a third of an inch. The screen and keypad also appear to be hidden away, revealed only by sliding up the top half. Buttons for answering and ending calls are still located on the outside, however, as is a touch-sensitive keypad, which appears to be a direct copy of that on the LG Chocolate. Click below for more images. [via Akihabara News]
US airline passengers will soon have the option of wireless Internet in their cabins, thanks in part to developments by Colorado-based AirCell. The company says it has snapped up unused frequencies from the FCC that would let it create a Wi-Fi hotspot in airplane cabins, allowing notebooks as well as properly-equipped handhelds such as the iPhone to access the Internet mid-flight. While the service would block VoIP calls for courtesy reasons, speed would be roughly equivalent to what users can see on the ground, AirCell says.
Sony today commemorated spring with several new additions to its Graphic Splash line of VAIO notebooks. Updating the look from the fall versions, the computer company's 13.3-inch C-series and 15.4-inch FE each get several new dye-sub designs worked into their shells. Two-tone dots in black and white or brown and turquoise are available on either system; the C gets exclusive Pink Blossom and Weathered Red patterns while the FE receives Charcoal Blossom as well as Weathered Blue.
The computers themselves are untouched with Core 2 Duos, DVD burners, and a 1280x800 display common for both. The FE series is already shipping with the custom look for $1,000, and should be followed by its $1,250 C-series equivalent on April 17th.
Verizon today picked up the SLVR L7c, the CDMA version of Motorola's well-known thin bar phone. In the carrier's trim the phone takes on an all-silver hue and gains support for most of the network's V CAST on-demand music and video downloads. It otherwise boasts the same features as the Motorola original with Bluetooth, EVDO broadband, a VGA camera, and a microSD slot for loading in media clips. Price is the emphasis with the L7c available for $70 when bought online with a two-year contract.
Also launching today is the entry-level CDM 7075, its rebranding of the UTStarcom phone by the same name. The clamshell phone's central feature is a VGA camera and an extremely low price. Verizon offers it for free with two years of service.
The Nokia 6110 Navigator is likely to reach a US carrier, an FCC filing shows. The device shown at 3GSM has recently been been greenlit by the government body and is likely to be one of the most advanced phones in the country upon its future launch: the slider holds both an HSDPA modem for 3G Internet access and its namesake assistive GPS unit for maps and routes out of the box. A 2-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, and a microSD slot carry through from the European launch.
Nokia's FCC approval doesn't indicate a release date for the phone in the territory, but should follow soon within the next few months at a carrier such as AT&T or T-Mobile. European pricing was set at €450 ($600) for a launch this spring and points to similar costs before a service discount. [via MobileWhack]
FlipStart this afternoon announced that its self-titled FlipStart PC has started shipping. The company's minuscule PC earned attention last month for compressing the full controls of a notebook into a handheld with a 5.6-inch screen, including a sharp 1024x600 resolution, a touchpad for full control of the mouse pointer, and an external Vista SideShow display for checking info when the computer is inactive.
Details remain unchanged since the March introduction: a 1.1GHz ultra-low voltage Pentium M, 512MB of RAM, and 30GB make up the base $1,999 system, which also comes with an EVDO modem for connecting to Sprint's mobile broadband network. Pre-orders are the first to ship and will be followed quickly by new sales.
TV tuner maker Elgato is today branching out into dedicated video encoders with the turbo.264 USB adapter. Similar to the ADS InstantVideo-To-Go, the Elgato device includes a dedicated video encoder that can dramatically accelerate the process of converting video to the more efficient H.264 format to assist slower computers or speed up larger projects, the company says. The turbo.264 was born with Macs in mind and includes Elgato's own Mac OS X software as well as a QuickTime plugin for converting footage for most any Mac program.
Shipments of the USB encoder are scheduled to begin in late April at a price of 99 Euros ($132). An official US launch date and price point are currently unavailable.
Wealthy home theater enthusiasts will appreciate the Action! M20 by projectordesign, touted as the only DLP projector capable of true 720p output. Despite its compact shape, it can project images to as large as 300 diagonal inches, and uses BrilliantColor technology (developed with Texas Instruments) to display 200 trillion color shades at 4,000:1 contrast. The M20 does not however use HDMI input, opting instead for DVI-D/HDCP, as well as component, S-Video and composite. Control is handled mainly through a backlit infrared remote. The projector is being sold in blue, white and gray colors, and should be available from select dealers for approximately $6,890. [via Shiny Shiny]
Vonage could be saved from having to shut down, according to a new SEC filing. The document points to a new deal with VoIP, Inc., that would see Vonage use its new partner's IP phone network to handle calls -- effectively bypassing Verizon altogether, which had threatened to shut out Vonage from the landline phone operator with a successful court injunction for alleged patent infringements.
Although Vonage itself says that the deal isn't directly connected to the patent crisis, an anonymous tip from an employee of VoIP, Inc. has revealed that the latter will carry Vonage's calls, helping the provider stay in business despite the earlier ruling. [via Ars Technica]
Sager has just launched the NP6650 notebook as a fresh alternative in basic notebooks. Its body is much slimmer than many others at the same price, measuring only 1.3 inches thick at its largest point and a single inch at its thinnest; the 15.4-inch widescreen system is also unique for carrying a 1.3-megapixel webcam, also packing a 4-in-1 card reader for photography.
Systems start at $599 with a 1.73GHz Celeron M, 40GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, and a DVD/CD-RW combo writer. Any system can be customized, however, and a second-tier model with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD rewriter ships from Sager at $899. [via PC Launches]
Although flash drives are nearly ubiquitous for USB, Transcend has taken the unusual step of producing new drives for ExpressCard/34 slots, such as those used on the Apple MacBook Pro. Capacities include 2, 4, 8 and 16GB, and in addition to ExpressCard machines, a USB 2.0 adapter allows connection to desktop computers or simply laptops without an ExpressCard slot. On Windows Vista systems the drives will be compatible with Microsoft's ReadyBoost memory expansion technique. Although the cards are formally announced, Transcend has yet to disclose costs or release dates.
Though the product has yet to be formally announced, Logitech is preparing to release the Cordless Desktop Wave, its first mouse and keyboard combo designed specifically around Windows Vista. The main difference is in the extra buttons on the keyboard, which launch functions such as Flip3D, Gadgets, Photo Gallery, Media Center and Windows Media Player. Flip3D can also be activated by clicking the scrollwheel on the mouse. Both components are of course wireless, and the mouse uses a high-precision laser sensor rather than an optical one. Pricing and the release date are as yet unknown. [via TG Daily]
While the preceding SD1, only recently arrived in North America, the HDC-SD3 is already scheduled to ship in Japan on April 25th. The key advancement is the ability to record in H.264, a codec favored in HD video, particularly that used by Apple's iPod, iTunes and QuickTime. Owners can also record in standard MPEG-4, and in either case resolution has been raised to 1080i. A 4GB SDHC card is bundled with the camera.
Coming the same day as the SD3 is the HDC-DX3, which is in many ways the same product, but uses three-inch DVD-R/RW/RAM discs and drops H.264. It should sell at a reduced price of 140,000 yen ($1,191), compared to 150,000 yen ($1,276) for the SD3. [via Impress Watch]
Without fanfare, Sony has released its new Digital Media Port iPod Dock. The relatively rare concession to the iPod market links the Apple music player to the Digital Media Port of Sony's newer Bravia home theaters and receivers to both play and control its music or video through the larger system. Composite video output and the ability to charge an iPod are similarly built-in.
The dock is compatible with all fourth- and fifth-generation iPods as well as all iPod mini and nano models. Sony is taking pre-orders today and plans to ship the dock in May for $100, complementing its earlier IP001 iPod speakers.
Toshiba's Japanese headquarters has deployed nine new LCDs in the country. These are divided into two lines, the foremost being the H3000 sets. Sizes range from 32 to 52 inches, and each model has a 300GB hard drive for built-in DVR functions. Some models are also equipped with an eSATA port, enabling even larger amounts of storage through an extra hard drive. All H3000 sets are 1080p-capable except for the 32-inch version.
Only the 42-inch C3000 supports full HD, but the 26-, 32- and 37-inch models still utilize HDMI and DVI inputs, and have built-in speakers developed by Onkyo. The two smallest models should be available by late April, as should the 32-inch H3000; the 37-inch C3000 will be out in May, while all the rest of the new TVs will arrive in June. [via Akihabara News]
T-Mobile on Tuesday joined the batch of US carriers picking up Motorola's KRZR K1. As leaked in a sell sheet, the T-Mobile version comes in a one-off Silver Quartz color and adds the support for stereo Bluetooth audio missing in the blue, reference model offered through AT&T. The latest edition also brings in software for T-Mobile's myFaves unlimited friend calling.
The freshly-styled KRZR will cost less than its AT&T rival, according to T-Mobile, with the phone selling either for $150 with a two-year contract (versus $200) and $300 without a commitment instead of $400.
HP today unveiled both new systems and a new look for its computers, switching to a glossy black that it expects will fit well in living rooms and other areas besides the traditional desk. The Slimline s3000y is the new showcase for this design by packing a dual-core Core 2 or Pentium 4 along with a DVD burner and a desktop-class hard drive into a case HP says is a third the size of a normal PC. It ships today in a base configuration with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4, a 160GB hard drive, and Vista Home Basic for $550 but can add media-friendly extras such as a GeForce 7300-series card or a TV tuner. An AMD-based Slimline s3020n opts for a 2GHz Athlon 64 X2 but increases specs with 1GB of RAM and 250GB of storage for $580.
Click through for more PC details.
System builder MaxVision on Tuesday launched a pair of heavy-duty computers designed to provide as much power as possible in the harshest conditions possible. The MaxRax (pictured) and MaxCube each pack up to eight processor cores but can withstand warzone-level conditions: each has a custom-designed Baghdad Filter that keeps out 99 percent of dust. Either is toughened for military-grade shock resistance; the MaxRax is even tough enough to be mounted in a helicopter, MaxVision is keen to point out.
Sony today hoped to spur sales of the PlayStation Portable by dropping the price of the Core Pack version from $200 to $170. The drop is targeted at those who want to try the PSP for the first time, especially teenagers: many younger buyers want the PSP as their only portable entertainment, Sony claims. The Core Pack is an essentialist version with just the PSP and its power pack.
The price shrink takes effect today, according to Sony; the prices on its Entertainment and Value Pack models remain unchanged.
Virgin Mobile started its Tuesday by launching the Kyocera MARBL, the Japanese cellphone designer's budget take on the slip flip phone design of Motorola's RAZR. Its design is thin for the price range at 0.8 inches thick and is sold as a no-frills phone: Bluetooth and a camera are dropped for the sake of price, though polyphonic ringtones and web browsing continue on for those who need the extra level of functionality.
The MARBL should be available in retail shops and online now for $30 before topping up on credit for Virgin's prepaid service. Click through for a photo of the phone's metal-style interior.
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