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With stories circulating about a new, smaller Zune designed to compete with the iPod nano, Gizmodo has acquired what may be the first picture of the device. Notable is the 16:9 LCD display, which does indeed cover most of the player, and would be difficult to create in Photoshop; it would not be impossible however, and the player is said to be the size of the normal Zune rather than a compact one. An alternate theory is that the photo depicts an unmentioned third Zune, but there have been no rumors to that effect.
Although real-estate agencies are increasingly hiring pro photographers, a new self-named camera from RealPIX should simplify the process for agents who do take photos themselves. The key difference is the camera's lens, which is far wider than most at 22mm, allowing better coverage of rooms and exteriors. The lens also has an extremely wide maximum aperture of f/2.0, which helps reduce ambient light blur by enabling faster shutter speeds.
The camera does however make sacrifices to reach its $299 price point: image size is limited to 640x480 (0.3 megapixels), and it only has access to an onboard flash, albeit one more powerful than in most compacts. The most critical issue may ironically be the lens, whose fixed length means that it cannot zoom in on details, nor zoom out further for the most cramped spaces. The camera begins shipping on July 10th.
GPS device creator TomTom this afternoon unveiled the RIDER 2nd Edition, the sequel to its popular mapping system for motorbikes. As was alluded to in a premature site posting, the revised unit has a new RAM mount that adapts to more handlebars and is more easily adjusted for a clear viewing angle. It also comes bundled with a Cardo scala-rider Bluetooth earpiece for making phone calls without the rider first removing their helmet. A new, free Buddies service also adds an element of social networking with friend tracking and notifications when fellow RIDER owners drift into range.
Transcend has revealed a new player in its T.sonic series, the 820. Exact format support is unknown, but it does at least support photo, video and MP3/WMA files, and comes with features such as voice recording and a built-in FM radio tuner. One new feature is nine-button keypad, which gives quick access to the various special functions, as well as normal volume and track selection options. Two different versions will be available: a 2GB white player, and a 4GB black one. Though the 820 will likely come to North America, no prices or street dates have been mentioned. [via DigiTimes]
Apple is reconsidering its attitude towards iTunes subscriptions, research group INTENT MediaWorks claims. Company CEO Les Ottolenghi said today that discussions with Apple staffers had led him to believe that the iTunes Store will see a subscription service within six months despite Apple's previous insistence on a-la-carte downloads.
"Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise," he asserted.
Samsung is prepping a new clamshell phone to replace the A640 in its lineup. Known as the SPH-M300, the device will take a cue from Sony-Ericsson's phones and hide the external display through an OLED display that only reveals itself for a call. The camera should also be vastly improved over the earlier phone with a 2-megapixel sensor in place of the VGA model of before. Stereo Bluetooth audio and a microSD slot for media are expected, though EVDO Internet support isn't known.
A release of the M300 is pegged for May 14th, according to leaks. It should come initially in a single Dark Silver color but will be followed up by a Sprint-friendly red version in July. [via Phone Arena]
Jaty on Wednesday surprised a few of its larger challengers with the GPS-L2000, also known as the Leisure Navi-Phone. Its nickname points to its features, the company says: the device has a true GPS unit that not only offers driving directions but also mapping for hikes, sailing, and even golf. An optional DMB receiver also picks up digital over-the-air TV shows. Control is made relatively easy through a 3.2-inch touchscreen that makes GPS more intuitive and replaces a bulkier physical keypad for dialing.
Currently available only in Korea, the Navi-Phone is available from carrier LG Telecom for $590 US in addition to a $6 monthly fee for updated map info from the cell provider. [via AVING]
Toshiba today announced that its HD-A20 HD DVD movie player is at last shipping to stores. The A20, first announced at CES in January, is targeted at viewers who want better image quality than the basic HD-A2 but without the more exotic AV output of the HD-XA2: the newest entry can display a full 1080p signal on compatible TVs but sheds HDMI 1.3's enhanced image and more elaborate versions of Dolby and DTS surround.
Importantly, the price has also dropped with the formal release. Toshiba says the A20 should be in stores very soon for $500, a full $100 less than what was announced in January.
After their European preview, Sony today formally introduced its E01 series MP3 players in its home country. The player borrows its design influence from players such as the original iPod shuffle with a USB port for direct file transfers from PCs or USB-equipped home stereos, but uses its available space for a hidden OLED that provides a visual interface as well as full-color album art.
In this official debut, the company is launching 1GB ($92), 2GB ($117), and 4GB ($168) versions with most having the option of five colors ranging from black to gold. They ship to Japan on April 21st but are likely to appear in the US later this year. A photo showing the player with its armband and clip add-ons follows the break.
Art Lebedev Studio as an April Fool's entry unveiled Vilcus. The simple attachment is meant as a toy for those who enjoy the questionable (and dangerous) entertainment of plugging their fingers into a wall socket: two holes in the plug are just large enough for the average finger and include copper contacts that are guaranteed to make a complete electrical circuit and achieve the intended shock.
Although built with Russia's wall outlets in mind, the Vilkus also has swappable plugs for US and European power outlets and plugs into a Rozetkus power strip. The device is technically listed through Think Geek for $13 but is unlikely to ever be offered for self-evident reasons.
Commemorating the 35th anniversary of The Godfather, Nokia today hoped to appeal to movie buffs with the N73 Godfather Edition. Its bar-shaped smartphone includes a complete copy of the Coppola film at the native resoluion of the N73's 2.4-inch screen, which successfully fits on to a single 256MB miniSD card. As with the N93 MI:3, cellphone owners can backup (but not play) the movie on another memory card or a PC should the movie be wiped clean from the card.
Silicon Imaging made an early start to its announcements for the NAB video expo by announcing the SI-2K line of pro HD video cameras. Both the namesake SI-2K and the smaller SI-2K MINI are built for videographers that want to capture above 1080p quality, recording videos over 2000 pixels wide. Unlike some of these cameras, however, the Silicon Imaging models don't automatically compress videos: instead, a Core 2 Duo in the camera converts footage to a RAW CineForm standard that consumes a large amount of space (4 hours in 160GB of storage) but which also guarantees 10-bit color accuracy.
The world's two largest contract laptop builders have reported a dramatic increase in sales for the month of March, according to PC World. Quanta Computer shipped 2.4 million laptops that month, marking the most the company has ever produced in such a timeframe. The company's revenue grew 31 percent to $1.55 billion US. Meanwhile, Quanta's competition at Compal Electronics shipped its second-highest monthly total, 1.78 million laptops, and saw its revenue rise to $1.059 billion.
The figures back a recent study by IDC, which suggested that laptop sales are growing so quickly that they may begin outselling desktops as soon as 2011. This has been attributed mainly to the prevalence of wireless Internet, and an increase in the number of travelling workers.
A partnership between Toshiba and Matsushita (owners of Panasonic) has been announced that should see the first commercial OLED TVs begin production by 2009, Reuters reports. OLED (organic LED) screens are generally thinner, lighter, and more power-efficient than LCDs, and are also better at reproducing motion; the main obstacle has been size, since while OLEDs are already in use in some places, technology mostly limits them to tiny information displays for devices like MP3 players. Sony is also said to be producing OLED panels for TVs, if not actual OLED sets.
Sony's elusive A800 Walkman is coming to Canada, Electronista has discovered. While the device was previously announced for Europe, the device has been announced for North America through Sony's Canadian branch and suggests pricing directly competitive with players from Apple, SanDisk, and other rivals but with the added playback of H.264 and MPEG-4 videos.
The launch lineup will also be slightly different than in Europe, Sony Canada reveals. Available in May, the players will ship in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities for $170, $230, and $300 Canadian respectively; while matching the iPod nano's price, several color options will also be dropped. Blue will be scrapped entirely for the launch while limiting pink only to the 4GB model and white for the 2GB edition. A US release remains unannounced and hasn't been explained by the electronics maker.
Three new 2.5-inch SATA drives have been announced by Samsung. The most notable of these may be the SpinPoint MP1, which holds an ample 200GB, and is rated at 7,200rpm. While these facts are not individually significant, most hard drives of the size sacrifice either speed or capacity to maintain the other statistic. And while the MP1 is intended for workstations, RAID servers and blade servers, it is speculated that it may end up in laptops, notably high-performance models like Apple's MacBook Pro. The drive should begin production in May.
The other two drives are also laptop compatible, but fall under Samsung's SpinPoint M5 series. A 160GB model starts production later this month, while a dual-disc 250GB drive is under development. These are specifically aimed at laptop computers, but are unfortunately rated at 5,400rpm, and use a 1.5Gbps interface instead of the MP1's 3Gbps.
Imation on Wednesday doubled the capacity of its USB flash drives, packing 8GB of memory into its Clip, Pivot (pictured), Swivel, and Swivel Pro models. The extra storage allows as many as 2,400 songs or 16,000 photos to be stored on a single drive -- even the extremely small Clip model, Imation says.
The first to receive the added space will be the Swivel Pro, which Imation expects will ship later in April for $200. A version of the standard Swivel with the 8GB option will be available in May for the same price. Launch details for the Clip and Pivot updates will be revealed later in the year.
Last week's controversial Michigan iPod proposal may have been in part been influenced by Apple's lobbying money, according to the Detroit Free Press. The paper reports that Democrat state house speaker Andy Dillon and fellow party member Matt Gillard made a trip to California at least partially funded by Apple, which included a trip to the company's Cupertino offices for an iPod and Mac technology demonstration for education. While the details of the talk between Apple and state Democrats remain unknown, the visit reportedly inspired Dillon and Gillard to back a $36 mllion deal that would have iPods and similar devices supplied to every Michigan student to help store class lectures.
Mio this morning officially released the C220, one of the least expensive GPS mapping device in the company's history and built specifically for first-time users and other basic users. The simple design shares many of the features as costlier models with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, voice guidance in any one of three languages (English, French, or Spanish), and a relatively large 3.5 million points of interest; it only avoids relative luxuries such as Bluetooth or media playback, according to Mio's designs. The C220 is meant to be genuinely portable and lasts for roughly 4.5 hours on battery.
The resulting device is available today at a reasonable price, the company says: it ships today for $250, preloaded with a 1GB SD card holding driving maps for the continental US.
Core details about the next generation of the Zune have been leaked, according to a blogger who claims to have spoken with a member of the Microsoft Zune team. The source has allegedly revealed that the company is already finishing the design stage of a smaller Zune based on flash memory whose size and features would be consciously aimed at defeating today's the iPod nano. The device would be just three inches tall and a quarter-inch thick with a screen that covers nearly 75 percent of the front face. It should also hold more flash memory than today's 8GB flash players, with beating Apple and other rivals in terms of storage as an explicit goal.
"You have to beat the competition, you know," the Microsoft employee said.
Samsung today announced that will begin shipping new LED-based 24-inch LCD panels for computer monitors. The company promises the new LCDs will deliver advanced color quality--similar to that of currently shipping high-quality TV sets. The LED-backlit monitor panel has an industry-high color saturation level of 111% (of NTSC standard) compared to a saturation level of only 72% of NTSC for conventional monitors and will deliver full WUXGA HD-resolution (1,920x1,200 pixels) as well as feature Samsung's S-PVA (Super Patterned-ITO Vertical Alignment) technology that provides the widest viewing angle possible -- 180 degrees along with an industry-leading contrast ratio of more than 1,000:1.
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