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Martin Varsavsky, the founder of FON, has announced that there are now Mac and Linux beta versions of the company's proprietary software. The Mac version requires an Intel processor; the Linux version requires runtime Tcl/tk and the Universal TUN/TAP driver (tun.o), both of which are said to be included in Ubuntu. FON offers a unique business model: as long as subscribers agree to sell their home WiFi access, which is marked on a public map, they are similarly entitled to use hotspots around the world for free. Besides computers, the hotspots can also be connected to with Skype-FON VoIP phones, and any Symbian S60 v3 phone, such as those in the Nokia E-series.
As promised, T-Mobile today began shipping the Sidekick iD through its online store as well as its retail spots. The budget messenger phone revealed earlier this month is now the carrier's first official alternative to the $200 mid-range model, dropping the Bluetooth, camera, and EDGE Internet while gaining removable color faceplates.
New subscribers can pick up the iD for $100 with a two-year agreement, while anyone using T-Mobile can buy the device for $300.
Key elements of AT&T's iPhone strategy have been revealed, according to a question-and-answer sheet leaked online. The American provider is notably making exceptions in its service to accommodate an expected surge of customers triggered by the Apple device: sales agents will have permission to break normal practices to keep existing subscribers onboard for the iPhone's release, letting them buy the iPhone at a similar price to new subscribers and taking the pressure off for potential upgraders.
Sony's PRO-HG flash technology bore its first fruits today and produced the Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo. Living up to earlier claims, the format doubles the bandwidth of the interface and makes for much faster performance than other cards. Writes take place at a minimum 15Mbps and reads are even better at 240Mbps. The speed is especially vital for owners of the upcoming CX7 Handycam, Sony says: transferring a 3.6GB HD video file takes only two minutes on a PRO-HG Duo stick.
Philips today quietly launched the X200, its more distinctive take on the notebook. Similar in some respects to Dialogue Technology's FlyBook, the X200 "longneck" has an adjustable neck that can lift the 12-inch widescreen LCD up and towards the user for a more natural viewing angle or for particularly cramped quarters; it can cover the keyboard altogether for watching movies using the dual-layer DVD rewriter, says Philips.
Despite extensive recall programs conducted last year, yet another company has fallen victim to faulty Sony laptop batteries, this time Acer. Cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the company is recalling approximately 27,000 lithium-ion batteries used in Aspire and TravelMate systems. A complete list of affected computers and batteries can be found here, where there are also instructions on how to receive a replacement unit.
Sony this afternoon launched a full-scale update of its HD-capable Handycams with three new models. By far the most groundbreaking is the HDR-CX7 (pictured), Sony says. The camera is the smallest ever to record video in AVCHD (H.264) format, and weighs just 15 ounces with a battery. It achieves this by relying on Memory Stick Pro instead of larger DVDs, hard drives, or tapes; despite the smaller capacity, the CX7 can still fit as much as three hours of 1080-line HD video on an 8GB card in an economic long-play mode. The sensor can also capture 6-megapixel still shots.
Entering one of the last few areas untouched by portable music players, George Foreman has unveiled the iGrill. Using the relative safety of its electric barbecue, the stand-up grill has a 10-watt speaker set that broadcasts music from a portable music player while the main 200 sq. in. grill cooks food indoors or outside. The iGrill is labeled as iPod ready courtesy of a USB port but is said to work with most any digital audio device.
The unique grill is already available from online stores and retails for $150. [via Uncrate]
Samsung has announced details on a pair of hard drives claimed to have the largest capacities of their type. The first is a new version of the Spinpoint M5, which as the company has previously hinted, is a 250GB, 5,400rpm drive designed for the 2.5-inch laptop format. It will begin production later this month, and use an 8MB cache, with a 1.5Gbps SATA interface. Power consumption is rated at 2W.
The other drive is from Samsung's 1.8-inch Spinpoint N2 series, which now has a 120GB model. Its production is expected to begin in July, and it will be used primarily in mobile products, including GPS systems, compact laptops and -- Impress speculates -- audio players like the iPod. Manufacturers will be able to specify whether the drive is used at 3,600 or 4,200rpm. [via Impress Watch]
Samsungon Wednesday put a new spin on its TVs through the 50P91FHD, part of its new Cannes line of plasmas. While brandishing all the features inherent to the company's latest screens, including a 1080p native resolution and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio, the P91 also incorporates a Bluetooth receiver for listening privately over wireless headphones or printing still images. The 50-inch set is also rare through its inclusion of ACAP, a newer worldwide standard for shuttling information to and from TVs during shows.
Matching its announcement of a new USB modem, AT&T has also released an ExpressCard 34/54 product, the Option GT Max 3.6 Express. Unlike the 875U, the 3.6 Express supports not one but two protocols, EDGE and HSDPA. The former is capable of speeds up to 216Kbps, but of course the real attraction is the latter, with some downloads as fast as 3.6Mbps. For better connectivity the modem has its own flip-up antenna, and supports a wider range of frequencies -- quad-band in EDGE, tri-band in HSDPA. The 3.6 Express is on sale now for $50, but also requires subscriptions to AT&T voice and data plans.
Apple's forthcoming cellular handset, internet browser, and widescreen iPod dubbed 'iPhone' which the company unveiled in January is likely to explode onto the scene, according to a new survey. ChangeWave Research conducted a study of tech-savvy professionals which points to high demand for the device, with about one in 10 respondents (or 9 percent) saying they are likely to purchase the iPhone once it becomes available. Another 7 percent said they will likely purchase the device as a gift for someone else. "That's huge," ChangeWave founder Tobin Smith said. "This is going to be a monster." The survey points to a far faster adoption rate than the industry average for consumer electronics products, and Smith suspects that Apple will exceed its sales goals if the iPhone's performance lives up to consumer expectations.
Even though the probable existence of an 80GB PS3 was cemented just last month, a photo anonymously submitted to Kotaku seems to suggest that the console is already in production. Multiple console boxes are seen sitting in a large container, with the nearest clearly being marked "80GB/80Go" -- "Go" standing for gigaoctet, the French term for a gigabyte. This most likely indicates a product intended for Canada.
While it may be possible that the photo has been digitally altered, this does mimic the revelation process of the Xbox 360 Elite, which many thought was a dubious product until Microsoft confirmed it. As with the Elite, it may be that Sony wants the 80GB PS3 to be ready for distribution before it begins any publicity efforts.
AT&T this morning added a new universal adapter for its fledgling 3G wireless network. The Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U adds HSDPA to any notebook with a USB port, allowing MacBooks and other portables without card slots to connect at up to 3.6Mbps on the cell carrier's fastest network. The stick-shaped modem is also ready for roaming European networks with UMTS and has legacy support for EDGE as well as GPRS on the fringes of world networks.
Full details of the miniOne have been revealed and could potentially top the iPhone it's meant to copy, according to a post made on Meizu's official forums. While the 3.3-inch touchscreen and WCDMA-based 3G wireless have been known for some time, the phone will gain a 16GB storage option -- the largest ever for any flash-based media player and double that of the still unreleased Apple device.
Making use of the S60 summit in Madrid, Samsung has announced a new smartphone, the SGH-i400 (click below for a larger image). The company is heavily promoting the use of S60, which is typically not found in Samsung products; some features of the OS include multitasking and the ability to install new, downloaded programs.
Distinguishing features of the phone include a slider keypad, a two-megapixel camera, and a 2.3-inch display, which may or may not be a touchscreen. More mundane confirmed features are Bluetooth, music playback and stereo speakers. The 400 will be launched in Russia in July of this year, with European countries receiving the product later.
Nokia this morning began shipping the N76, one of its smarter mid-range phones. The flip-phone design pushes music and video. In a rarity for most higher-end Nokia devices, the N76 has an external display with music controls; movies and photos can be captured through either the front VGA or rear 2-megapixel cameras and edited directly from the phone before uploading directly to Flickr or synchronized with a computer. As hinted by the front camera, HSDPA mobile broadband is built in for quicker media streams and web browsing.
Panasonic made sweeping changes to its notebook line on Wednesday with three of its ultraportables all receiving an upgrade to the 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo U7500, which adds 64-bit and dual-core support even in the tight confines of smaller PCs. The 12-inch W5a serves as the reference model with 1GB of memory, 80GB storage, and a top-loading DVD rewriter; it can also last for a long 10 hours on battery and takes drops of up to 12 inches or 220 pounds of pressure. The W5a should be available in Japan with other models on May 18th for $2,109.
Motorola today marked the first public release of its 3G-capable KRZR phone. Now known as the KRZR maxx K3, the clamshell handset once known just as the KRZR K3 has been released in Hong Kong. It preserves the 2-megapixel camera, MPEG-4 video, and other features of the basic KRZR K1 but adds in HSDPA mobile broadband as well as a VGA camera tucked under the internal display for video calls. Storage is provided through 50MB of built-in memory and microSD cards.
Pricing is unknown for the Hong Kong debut. Also unrevealed is the phone's support for North American networks and the possibility of a release for the Western continent.
(Updated for Sprint info) Research in Motion today unveiled the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, the company's first true hybrid smartphone. The device will officially go on sale for CDMA-based cell networks from Sprint and Verizon, and has full support for EVDO mobile Internet as well as serving as a dial-up modem; a GSM radio and a SIM card, however, let the new BlackBerry roam in Europe and other areas where Verizon's coverage isn't an option. The switchover is seamless and also allows for basic GPRS Internet access, RIM says.
Bang & Olufsen on Tuesday debuted BeoLab 9, its newest loudspeaker designed as an extension to the company's BeoLab 5 product line. BeoLab 9 utilizes the same patented Acoustic Lens Technology, which sits on top of the speaker and disperses the treble at a 180 degree arc, and "guarantees an equal sound distribution throughout the room and allowing the listener an even sound experience regardless of seating location." In addition, the company claims that the lens eliminates reflections from the floor and ceiling that distort the sound. BeoLab 9 will be available in all Bang & Olufsen showrooms this spring for $9900 per pair of speakers.
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