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Internet video provider Akimbo today said it would give a new PC viewing option for its service. Having already beaten the Apple TV and Unbox on TiVo by releasing its Internet-based TV hub years earlier, the company will use Roxio's Venue to not only allow downloads of movies and TV shows but to burn DVDs that are playable on most DVD players.
Also part of the introduction is a deal with the NHL that will see full hockey games available either for the Akimbo set-top box or the PC within 48 hours of game day. A two-week beta should start on April 16th and will require a Windows XP or Vista system. Changes in pricing weren't announced.
With T-Mobile discontinuing its MDA phone, the carrier may be seeking a replacement. MyMobile911 suggests it is the Wing, essentially a rebranded HTC P4350 (Atlas). T-Mobile's changes are primarily blue rubber casing, and an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6; the phone otherwise appears to be unchanged, featuring a 2.8-inch touchscreen and a spring-loaded slider keyboard. Other highlights include 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and a two-megapixel camera. A microSD card can be used to hold photos as well as AAC, MP3, WAV and WMA files. T-Mobile should begin carrying the Wing in August.
Microsoft has quickly followed up today's news of its Xbox 360 keyboard attachment for instant messaging with hands-on details and images. Although the keyboard is large, its weight and location between the handles makes it it virtually unnoticeable until it's needed, according to Microsoft's John Porcaro.
Importantly, the device will also include a new headset to keep voice chats an option once the keyboard occupies the normal headset port. Microsoft's commentary did not include any more concrete launch details but did include a photo set, highlights of which can be found after the jump. [via GamerScore Blog]
The next level of mobile broadband could be a tremendous help to both music labels and video operators, companies from both fields have said. Fourth-generation wireless, which should appear in the US primarily through Intel's WiMAX standard, should drastically lower the costs of downloading media by not only speeding access but taking the burden off of typically cramped cellular networks, which even with third-generation EVDO (from Sprint and Verizon) or HSDPA (from AT&T) struggle to handle heavy downloading. WiMAX is closer to Wi-Fi and pleases labels who could expect to see more income from every track.
Dell today marked the last chapter in its Axim handheld line by quietly removing the last of the handhelds, the x51v, from its company store. The Axim line was one of the most popular PocketPC (and later Windows Mobile 5) devices upon its launch in 2002 due to the abundance of features for the price, but was gradually eclipsed as media players, smartphones and similar multi-function devices took hold.
Support for existing Axims is likely to continue. A new PDA or smartphone successor has been rumored but isn't expected to see an actual launch in the foreseeable future. [via Mobility Site]
Sanyo on Monday launched a pair of Gorilla GPS units built to handle the rigors of urban driving. Both the SB250DT and SD200DT (pictured) have doubled their storage to 2GB to contain as many as 3 million locations, including a true 3D mode with textures that help replicate the road from the driver's perspective. Each also has a 1Seg digital TV tuner for watching shows with the 4.5-inch touchscreen display. The new Gorilla line further makes a concession to eco-friendly driving, Sanyo says: ECO Drive cautions if it believes driving is unnecessarily wasteful.
Although the $600 price of the 60GB PS3 has been one of the major complaints about Sony's console, the 20GB model ($500) is becoming increasingly hard to find, notes PC World. Major retailers such as Best Buy have stopped sales entirely, and even Sony itself no longer lists the product on its SonyStyle website. This is a reaction to sales, says Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for the company's gaming division. "The line-up [at SonyStyle] is decided based on market demand and so it's not surprising that they are not selling it on their Web site but if you go to a retailer you can find it." He adds that the 60GB model has always been more popular.
These developments are perhaps not unexpected, as gamers can already buy a 20GB Xbox 360 for $400, and Microsoft will launch a 120GB 360 on April 29th for $480. Sony appears set to counter this with an 80GB PS3.
Razer has announced that its Pro|Type keyboard for iPod owners has at last shipped. Originally revealed in August, the keyboard includes a universal iPod dock that charges and synchronizes any dockable model of Apple's signature music player. A line-out jack will also play music directly from the iPod through headphones or speakers. Two free USB ports are provided for mice and other devices; the keyboard itself has both media buttons and ten programmable buttons, each of which can be mapped as part of ten user-set profiles.
The keyboard is available in white from Razer at a price of $130.
While the likelihood of Apple's iPhone arriving in Canada has lately been cast into doubt, an increasing number of prospective buyers in the country are up in arms over restrictive data limits that threaten to cripple the iPhone's usefulness. Starting a petition, a group of potential owners have decried a 25MB limit on its typical Internet access as arbitrary, pointing out that Rogers has the most expensive data rates of any carrier in North America -- even compared to its own Palm Treo plan and its Fido sub-division.
"Users have paid several hundred, and in some cases more than $1000, during one month for data usage," read the complaint. They "would have not been charged extra on any other North American carrier on their best data plan."
Sony's headquarters in Japan has announced a new portable DVD player, the DVP-FX850. Its key feature is its screen, which is not only an impressive eight inches diagonally, but can rotate 180 degrees to lay flat, creating a more compact playing area. Video resolution is a fairly high 800x480. Another impressive aspect is battery life, which at six hours is enough to view up to four complete movies. Japanese buyers may appreciate the CPRM compatibility, which will later enable the playback of recorded digital TV broadcasts. The FX850 goes on sale May 1st at an open price.
Sales of next-generation movies are still extremely low despite almost a year on the market, according to figures (ZIP file) from Nielsen VideoScan. While the Blu-Ray edition of Casino Royale has sold well at over 28,000 copies sold in its first week, many titles have sold less than this in ten months, such as The Fifth Element. Some movies have even sold fewer than 200 copies since they first appeared on the market, the study showed. Most of the top ten all-time and weekly titles as of March 18th were Blu-Ray titles.
The numbers don't include sales from Wal-Mart and similar general chains but point to either standard as clearly outnumbered by standard DVDs, which are more established and have substantially lower prices. [via High Def Digest]
Nokia has at last begun selling the N95, the latest in its self-styled series of "multimedia computers" (smartphones). One of its most interesting features is two-way sliding, giving quick access to music controls in one direction, or a standard keypad in the other.
The phone also comes equipped with GPS mapping, as well as a five-megapixel camera, and the option of EDGE or HSDPA broadband -- the latter being capable of speeds as fast as 3.6Mbps. Other connection options include Bluetooth, WiFi and USB 2.0. The N95 should be on sale for $749 in major cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Western Digital has begun shipping SATA hard drives which may soon find their way into a number of DVR systems. The company's AV drives are specifically built for long-term use, and exploit technologies such as IntelliSeek, which dynamically adjusts seek speed to save power and reduce noise -- the latter being especially important when watching television. Western claims that the drives are in fact so quiet as to be barely within the threshold of human hearing.
The AV line should also be able to record multiple broadcasts simultaneously: Western estimates a total of 12 HD streams, or 16 standard-definition streams. Ramp loading, meanwhile, should not only reduce power use but increase reliability, keeping the head off the surface of the disc except when absolutely necessary. Capacities range from 80 to 500GB.
Sony today revealed a co-developed technology that it hopes will take control from LCDs and other flat panels. Called a Field Emission Display, the technique is similar to Canon's SED in merging the best of tube TV and LCD technology by firing electrons at each pixel instead of scanning lines. This eliminates the distortion of CRT tubes but keeps the fast responses and a 20,000:1 contrast ratio roughly ten times better than the static ratios for most LCDs. Power consumption also drops in the process, Sony adds.
SimpleTech (a part of Fabrik) has begun shipping a line of external hard drives with an unusually refined look. The SimpleDrive series is designed by Pininfarina, the same company responsible for cars like the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti K. The drives have suitably sleek curves and lines, and come in different colors depending on their capacity, such as a bright red for 160GB or black for 500GB.
Perhaps most notable is the top capacity of 1TB, which is still rare in terms of internal hard drives, much less external ones. Each drive currently comes with backup software and a USB 2.0 interface; May will see the release of combo USB 2.0/FireWire 400 products. Prices for the USB-only models start at $99 for 160GB.
A complete launch strategy for NVIDIA's first mid-range GeForce 8-series cards has been leaked, say websites receiving their review units. The entire line will cost considerably less than the current 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS, selling at most for $229 with the 256MB GeForce 8600 GTS while starting at as little as $89 for the basic 128MB GeForce 8500 GT. There will also be less expensive, 400MHz GeForce 8300 GS and 450MHz GeForce 8400 GS cards available for larger system builders whose prices haven't revealed, the leak says.
All cards will be announced on April 17th and should be available almost immediately as stand-alone upgrades. Their use by system builders such as Apple and Dell hasn't been revealed and should vary in ship dates and price. [via DailyTech]
Toshiba Matsushita Display this morning unveiled what it says is one of the largest ever polymer OLED screens produced. Advancements in uniformity and electrodes have let the partnership produce a 20.8-inch display that it hopes will usher in a newer generation of computer monitors and TVs. Like most OLED panels, the new example is thinner and more power-efficient than today's LCDs due to the lack of a backlight; it also has much wider viewing angles as well as a virtually instant response time ideal for fast action.
Production of the new screen for final products isn't available, though TMD will showcase the screen at the Tokyo Big Sight expo on the 11th. A 1280x768 resolution for the prototype will likely see it introduced first for smaller TVs.
Intel today added a new speed grade to its quad-core Core 2 Extreme line. The QX6800 reaches 2.93GHz -- matching the same speed as the dual-core X6800 released just last year while doubling the number of cores as well as the level 2 cache, which now tops 8MB spread across all four cores. Like the earlier Extreme models, the 2.93GHz version also sports an unlocked multiplier to encourage overclocking without much extra modification.
The QX6800 represents the fastest officially released quad-core Intel processor, complementing the faster but unofficial 3GHz Xeon used in Apple's Mac Pro. Processors running at the new clock rate are price at $1,199 in large volumes. [via DailyTech]
SanDisk today announced a team-up with Yahoo for its recently unveiled Sansa Connect jukebox. The 4GB player can now use its Wi-Fi to access multiple Internet features from Yahoo's sites without requiring a host PC: besides supporting direct music downloads for Yahoo's Music Unlimited To Go service, the device can now browse Flickr photo sets, view Yahoo Messenger contacts and their music, or stream Internet radio from Yahoo's LAUNCHcast service.
The Connect is already available now and ships for $250; Flickr, LAUNCHcast, and Yahoo Messenger services are free, while the Music Unlimited To Go feature requires a paid subscription.
Apple today revealed that it has sold 100 million iPods, turning the device into the fastest-selling music player ever, the company boasts. The benchmark figure was reached only five and a half years after the November 2001 debut of the 5GB original and comes after eleven different generations of iPods, including five editions of the flagship model. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was enthusiastic in reporting the news.
"At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success," he said. "iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we're thrilled to be a part of that."
Creative's speaker-oriented division Cambridge today announced that it was shipping the 820HD. The company's premium deskside radio tunes into HD Radio broadcasts and supports all the HD2 standard's features, varying from higher-quality sound to song information, traffic, and weather. AM and FM legacy support are built-in alongside a dual alarm for different sleep schedules and aux input for sound through iPods and other portable audio.
The 820HD should be available today in either black or white shells at a $300 price and comes bundled with an IR remote.
One of Japan's largest cellphone carrers is about to try its hand at the American market, according to the company. KDDI said on Monday that it would launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) dubbed KDDI Mobile that will use Sprint's existing backbone to provide its own take on phone service. The expansion was triggered in part by success at home, reports said.
Although no devices or a specific timeframe were given, the introduction may clear a path for previously Japan-only phones such as the Sony-Ericsson W51S to make their first appearances in the US. KDDI will also present a key challenge to Helio, which runs on the same network and is backed by the Korean provider SK Telecom.
Microsoft on Monday continued its efforts to expand the Xbox 360 feature set by announcing new instant messaging functions for users of the popular gaming device. On the heels of expanded HD video content and a new HDMI-enabled Xbox 360 Elite, the company now promises users the ability to run Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360, allowing them to easily connect and chat directly from their television with a network of more than 260 million active users. Expected to be available beginning the week of May 7, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will add the ability to text chat--in addition to video and voice chat functions--with up to six people on a user's contact list at one time--while playing games, listening to music or watching movies.
Apple's new set-top box continues to draw the interest of enthusiasts with new hacks for displaying RSS feeds on Apple TV and for video game emulation. Following last week's revelation that Apple is not disabling hacked devices, over the past few days readers have developed a RSS plugin for Apple TV that offers the ability to display RSS feeds (version 1.x/2.x) within the Apple TV interface. While still in beta, the plugin is expected to be updated with support for ATOM feeds and video RSS feeds (streamed rather than synced via iTunes). The download includes an RSS plugin for Apple TV's "Back Row" application (the Finder replacement that controls the Apple TV interface on the device) as well as sample files for adding custom RSS feeds.
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