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Matching AMD's high-end releases, Intel has taken the opposite route and announced its Core 2 Duo ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors. The U7500 and 7600 are clocked at 1.06 and 1.2GHz, respectively, and are aimed at portable systems, namely tablets, notebooks and UMPCs. They do however retain a 2MB L2 cache, as well as a 533MHz front-side bus. They should gradually replace the Core Duo U2500 over the next few months; the first OEM computer to offer ULV processors will be Gateway's E-100M notebook, shipping in May. [via TG Daily]
Allaying speculation that early figures were just a spike, the Nintendo Wii has remained on top of next-generation console sales since Christmas, Newsfactor reports. Figures produced by the research firm NPD Group indicate that between November 2006 and February 2007, approximately 1.86 million Wiis were sold. The console's success is attributed mainly to three factors: greater availability, the lowest price ($250) and an original control scheme, which is reputed to be easy for even non-gamers to use.
In somewhat of a surprise however, Sony's Playstation 3 rose out of third place to sit at 1.1 million units. The console has generally been beleaguered by a number of problems, such as severe launch shortages, a high price ($500-600), and a lack of exclusive games. Though still dominant in total sales (having launched in 2005), Microsoft's Xbox 360 did not live up to expectations set by the holidays.
Jajah today extended its web-based voice over Internet calling to PSP owners. A mobile version of the company's dialing page has been certified for use with the console and will let any owner with Sony's microphone headset or a similar add-on place calls to real-world numbers by typing in a number with their gamepad. The recent PSP price cut makes the offer ideal for users who want gaming, media playback, and phone service in a single device, Jajah claims.
Accessing Jajah free and allows for free calls between fellow users; calls to traditional phone lines start at 2.8 cents per minute between Americans and vary from region to region.
Apple on Thursday afternoon denied allegations that it was undoing hacks on the Apple TV. A company spokesperson asserted that Apple has a resolutely hands-off approach to the media hub, choosing not to monitor or control user habits through users who allow the device on to the Internet. Owners can modify both the hardware and software as much as they like as long as they understand the risk of voiding the warranty, Apple said.
AMD has released two new chipsets in its Opteron line, the 2222 SE and 8222 SE, officially bringing performance to the 3GHz level. Though this matches the recently released Athlon 64 X2 6000+, the 2222 is designed to work in dual-processor systems, and the 8222 can function in four- or even eight-processor configurations. The target audience is of course businesses running workstations and servers.
The new Opterons are equipped with 2MB L2 caches, and fit into Socket F motherboards, which use DDR2 memory. Themal data power should be around 120W. AMD is still using the standard 90nm fabrication process for these chips, but the future should see quad-core Opterons using a smaller manufacture. [via eWeek]
The HD DVD format has been encountering numerous problems with movie playback, according to many users. Speaking to forum goers, a Microsoft employee confirmed that the Xbox 360's HD DVD add-on is unable to play TrueHD uncompressed audio, forcing owners to deal with lower-quality Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as audio glitches in titles such as Nine Inch Nails' Beside You in Time. The problem is already being addressed, the Microsoft contact says, and should add both the missing TrueHD as well as DTS support for those who prefer the standard.
Hammacher Schlemmer has begun selling an unusual media player known as the Portable Video iPod Enlarger and DVD Player. Shaped somewhat like Samsung's Q1 Ultra, the Enlarger can of course play DVD movies on-the-go, but is mainly intended as a grander stage for video iPods. Users dock a 30, 60 or 80GB model into the back, and the output is displayed on a seven-inch LCD at 480x234 resolution.
An AV jack can direct the feed into a TV, and users can also keep the player quiet by using one of two headphone jacks. Built-in menu controls allow the quick selection of both music and video. Battery life is said to be 2.5 hours, though it is not known if this factors in simultaneous charging of an iPod. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling the Enlarger for $250. [via PocketSynch]
Normally known for its TVs, Epoq today launched a pair of small, basic media players. Smallest of all is the unnamed 2.4-inch model (pictured at right). Resembling an iPod-inspired version of the iRiver Clix, the first Epoq device shifts all its controls to the side to reduce the footprint of the media player to little more than that of a matchbox. Its more conventional 2.2-inch equivalent shrinks the screen in favor of front touch-sensitive controls without adding much more to the overall size.
Details and photos of both devices can be found after the jump.
Google today announced the creation of My Maps, a new personalization feature for Google Maps. The feature takes its influence from Web 2.0 apps by letting visitors create their own version of a map with simple editing tools: landmarks, routes, and shapes can be drawn on the chart either for public maps, such as a guided tour, or private, for helping friends with driving and walking directions. It's also possible to attach HTML, photos, and either Google or YouTube videos to give landmarks extra meaning, the search company says.
The service is live today and works with any computer that can already view Google Maps. Those running Google Earth can also import any public or private map into Google Earth for viewing outside of a web browser.
The iPod nano has been turned into an unusual form of stress reliever, according to a news report from the Netherlands. The southeast city of Maastricht handed out iPod nanos to its 280 sanitation workers two weeks ago, hoping to improve their moods by letting them tune into music during their shifts. The giveaway had been prompted by numerous complaints sent to city council that accused the workers of becoming increasingly unruly, harassing the local populace for seemingly trivial reasons.
"Some days they would yell at me for the way I placed my trash container," said shopkeeper Christian Van Rijn.
The newest Samsung phone is the C170, which will be shipping to Europe later this month. While positioned as a budget model, the phone still has an attractive candybar design, which is augmented by staggered buttons with plenty of surface area for increased comfort. Thickness is just 0.08 inches greater than the company's Ultra Edition phones. The 170 supports dual-band GSM (900/1800MHz), and has WAP 1.2.1 web browsing, enabled through GPRS. A phonebook, speakerphone, FM radio tuner and voice recording are counted among the phone's other features, but crucially, there is only 600KB of onboard memory. A larger photo can be found below. [via Unwired View]
Panasonic on Thursday claimed to have solved the problem of tight space on small players through its new D-Snap SD850N. Much as with the recently introduced Samsung UpStage, the SD850N has controls on its reverse face: users scroll and select using a touchpad on the back but control the songs themselves with touch buttons on the front. The front is also home to an active noise cancellation button that filters out 83 percent of outside sound with the included in-canal earbuds. FM radio is available for listening when AAC, MP3, and WMA playback runs dry.
The first pictures have been leaked of a new BlackBerry phone, the 8830. Presumably a companion or successor to the 8800, the new phone is headed to Verizon Wireless, and while having a very similar button and display layout, is now burnished in metallic grey instead of black. It is also marked with a distinct "World Edition" label, which suggests that the phone may be RIM's first hybrid GSM/CDMA model. Click through to see larger images. [via The Boy Genius Report]
Pioneer is releasing two new plasma HDTV sets in Japan: the first is the PDP-A507HX, a 50-inch model that is nevertheless limited to a native resolution of 1365x768, displaying video in 720p. The PDP-A427HX is also capable of 720p, but has its native resolution restricted even further, stopped at 1024x768. Each set does have HDMI, DVI and USB ports however, and benefits from Pioneer's PURE Black Panel and PURE Drive II technologies, which are said to improve contrast and color. The 427 is 450,000 yen ($3,786), while the 507 is 560,000 yen ($4,712). [via Akihabara News]
Possibly more powerful than the Orca Extreme 9191, the Malibal Veda is a formidable gaming laptop. The top configuration uses a 20.1-inch screen, capable of resolutions up to 1680x1050, and has its video supplied by not one but two Quadro FX Go 2500M cards -- each with 512MB of memory. Users can choose up to 4GB of RAM and 320GB of hard drive space, and the processor is a Turion 64 X2. Accessories include WiFi, a TV tuner, a DVD burner and a 7-in-1 card reader. Base prices start at $2,799, but with high-end hardware, the system can easily cost in excess of $7,000. [via I4U News]
The heavy publicity surrounding Windows Vista has had little effect on computer buyers, according to a recent Harris survey. While an ad blitz nearly doubled recognition of the new Microsoft OS from 47 to 87 percent between December and March, the number of existing users who intended to upgrade had actually dropped over the four-month period, only 12 percent had said they would upgrade to the OS within the next year.
"Vista promised better performance, reliability, security, and a revolutionary user interface - but it appears consumers looking to upgrade are not ready to buy into the promise," said Harris VP Milton Ellis.
Cellphone designer Hop-On may create trouble for the music phone industry, according to a patent the company has received today. The company said it had been granted a patent that covered MP3 phones with speakers on the sides as well as control buttons -- effectively applying the patent to virtually every flip-phone with music abilities released in the US over recent years. The company was aware of this and hoped to profit at the expense of other cellphone makers by collecting royalties from the "millions" of past and future designs touched by the patent, the announcement said.
BlackBerry's creator Research in Motion has patented a potentially revolutionary approach to text entry on its handhelds, a new filing published today shows. The Canadian firm has developed methods that it hopes will cut down on the number of keystrokes needed for smartphone text messages, which are frequently slower than their PC equivalents. One of these is a technique dubbed "phrase substitution," according to RIM: the user could put in smaller text strings that would automatically be replaced with larger strings, such as "FYI" creating "for your information."
LG this morning took a fresher approach to cellphone design and launched the SV280. Not unlike the kick slider of Motorola's RIZR Z8, the Korean-made phone takes its cue from a banana's shape to gently curve the handset when it slides open. This puts both the speaker and the microphone closer to your face, LG says. A rounded body with edge grips also makes for a more comfortable fit.
Media playback is still a focus in the design with a significant 142MB of built-in flash (plus a microSD slot), a 1.3-megapixel camera, and MP3 playback. The SV280 goes live with SKTelecom in Korea today; the likelihood of a North American version is currently slight. Click through for a larger photo.
ASUS revealed today that it has a desktop replacement notebook in the works which should be equally flexible and quick. Codenamed the C90S, the 15.4-inch widescreen system can be custom-ordered by either buyers or retailers to offer as much or as little performance as they need. Performance will be driven chiefly by a desktop-class Core 2 Duo running as quickly as 2.66GHz; an MXM module will also let shoppers custom-order the system with different levels of NVIDIA graphics, including the future GeForce Go 8-series when it becomes available. Multimedia will be just as much a speciality with an optional Blu-Ray drive, an HDMI output, an internal TV tuner, and an unusually sharp 2-megapixel webcam.
Apple's updated Mac Pro uses a special version of Intel's Xeon workstation-class processor, the semiconductor company said in an e-mail note. The 3GHz quad-core CPU at the heart of the fastest system is currently an unannounced model that sits at the top of the company's performance range and is presently used only by Apple.
"We are indeed shipping a 3.0GHz Xeon version [and] expect to see faster gigahertz speeds for our high-end [Core 2] Extreme PCs very soon, too," said Intel's Bill Kircos. "For now, the product is in limited production and Apple has chosen to adopt it. We will introduce another 3.0GHz Xeon SKU later on as well."
Computer maker HP late yesterday held its 2007 Gaming Summit and said it would more aggressively chase after gamers with a future line of PCs. Using car analogies, HP's gaming CTO Rahul Sood said that the company needed to develop a "Mercedes" PC which had much of the performance of the flagship Voodoo PC line, but which didn't have the exotic cases and cooling that add to the cost of Voodoo's Omen and similar luxury systems.
Without going into specifics, Sood indicated that desktops, notebooks, and even handhelds would produce the added speed by the end of the year. The move will put HP in direct competition with Dell's XPS series, which sits in between its mainstream systems and its deluxe Alienware label.
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