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Pioneer today used Europe as the venue for its new eigth-generation plasma sets. Nicknamed the "Project Kuro" line, the range depends on Pioneer's latest panels, which emphasize especially deep black levels: the four 1080p-native 50- and 60-inch sets released today manage an exceptional 20,000:1 contrast ratio, with the highest-end models also sporting an enhanced digital comb filter for stronger color. Most models further claim an Optimum mode that adjusts the panel for better viewing in daytime. A DVB-T tuner for nearly every set handles European over-the-air digital broadcasts.
The Japanese division of Planex has released the tall and thin MZK-04G, an ideal router for users who regularly download gigabytes of data at a time. Critical to this are two features: a pair of USB ports are used to add external hard drives, and the router itself is preloaded with a BitTorrent client, enabling it to download files overnight without keeping a computer on. There are four gigabit Ethernet ports, and the wireless side supports similar speeds, transmitting at up to 997Mbps. The 04G is currently being sold in Japan at an "open" price; Planex does sell products in the United States, but the new router does not appear to have arrived yet. [via Akihabara News]
Fujitsu will have a tablet PC to go with its fixed-screen LifeBooks, according to a newly uncovered FCC filing. Though the case design will go unchanged, the LifeBook T4220 will upgrade the company's 12-inch convertible PC with Intel's range-topping 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo on an 800MHz bus. Wireless is also extensive with built-in Bluetooth matched by an 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi adapter.
Memory and the choice of storage are unavailable in the filing. However, the appearance of the system suggests a close launch that may occur as soon as this month. [via PC Joint]
As companies like HP attempt to make tablet PCs more consumer friendly, MobileDemand is heading in the opposite direction with its new xTablet T8600. The computer is one of the few "ruggedized" tablets in existence, and is built to US military's 810F standard, although the only government client so far is FEMA. The 8600 is further said to be the only rugged tablet with a numeric keypad, making it easier to do things like calculate bills.
The system uses a 733MHz Centrino M processor running Windows XP Tablet, and supports 802.11a/b/g wireless, as well as cellular broadband through third-party EDGE and EVDO modems. The display is a large 8.4 inches and is capable of resolutions up to 800x600. Slots are provided for CF and PC Cards, and users can optionally buy accessories for scanning barcodes and magnetic stripe cards. Prices are not being made available to the public.
Rounding out Sony-Ericsson's updates today is the DS980, its new Bluetooth headset for those who often balance calls and music. The update to the accessory streams music in full stereo thanks to A2DP support and the extra bandwidth of Bluetooth 2.0. In-canal earbuds are also used with silicone tips to block outside audio, while the main body itself will automatically filter sounds during calls to clean the outgoing voice. Multiple devices are supported at once for notebooks and media players that can recognize the new earpiece.
Kohler today branched out from its usual bath and kitchen accessories with the SoundTile, its new speaker system built with just for showers. Designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, each satellite fits coaxial speakers from Polk into a 4-inch square frame that stays near-flush with the shower wall. The stainless steel shell and grill keep water from entering the enclosure without blocking sound. A hole at the bottom is also strategically placed to drain water before it can damage the speakers themselves.
Photos have surfaced today which show HTC's future Elf and Kaiser in complete detail. Having changed slightly from its initial appearance, the Elf (shown in main photo) now adopts an iPod-like white and pushes simplicity over sheer features: a 2.8-inch touchscreen is the near-exclusive control method that replaces both a number pad and a keyboard. A 2-megapixel camera has been newly confirmed as part of the device, though Internet will be relatively modest with EDGE Internet in North America and UMTS in Europe.
While cellphones tend to be thought of as a non-issue for the blind, modern phones can pose a serious problem, as their advanced functions often depend on LCD menus. The Canadian GSM carrier Rogers Wireless is now carrying the 6682RVI, a Nokia phone pre-installed with software called Nuance TALKS. TALKS reads screen content back to a user, including options, battery status, and perhaps most importantly, e-mails and text messages. Voice recognition allows owners to respond in kind. For convenience, the reading synthesizer's volume and speaking rate can be adjusted. Rogers is now selling the 6682RVI for $200 with a three-year contract. [via SlashPhone]
Panasonic on mid-Tuesday put the new Strada nav unit (known as the NVD905U) for frequent long-distance drivers. As with a few high-end GPS receivers, this entry chooses a 30GB hard drive over the DVD-only systems often found in cars. The storage is both faster than the optical format, Panasonic says, and gives a far richer map: in North America, the Strada covers 12 million points of interest as specific as individual ATM units. Especially detailed maps are provided for 86 US cities.
Along with its S500 phone, Sony-Ericsson today has also unveiled a trio of phones targeted alternately at high-end pros as well as the entry level. The P1 (shown) tops the additions as the smartphone in the line. Though shaped like a bar phone, it includes the features of more complex devices such as a touchscreen with handwriting recognition for notes. VoIP is explicitly suppored on Wi-Fi for making calls without depending on costlier and sometimes fragile cllphone networks.
Philips has announced a new remote control that dwarfs virtually any universal remote currently in production. The Pronto NX PowerLite (TSU9600) has its own VGA touchscreen display, and has an elaborate interface that organizes content not by hardware, but by activity; under the Live TV section for instance, users can select a channel's icon directly.
The remote can be programmed for any IR-controlled AV device, and numerous other devices as well through a WiFi extender. Buyers with complicated setups can get the Serial Extender, a rack enclosure with four IR and four RS232 ports. The remote by itself is extremely expensive, however: it is $1,836, and geared towards home automation systems. [via Geekzone]
The South Korean division of LG has leapt onboard as the next company to announce laptops running Intel's Santa Rosa platform. Of the five X-Notes the highlight is the likely the 15.4-inch R500, which has the option of 2.0 or 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo chips, as well as 802.11n wireless and 120 to 160GB of hard drive space. Graphics are supplied by a 256MB GeForce 8600 GS, which has not yet been formally unveiled by Nvidia.
The cellphone producers at E-Ten today stepped up their performance with the X500+, a major update to its mid-range device. The X500+ earns its title through a VGA screen, which E-Ten says is the first to reach a shipping smartphone. Its 640x480 resolution gives far sharper movie playback and 2-megapixel photography than most phones without adding to the price through excessive features, the company says.
The LCD's crispness also helps with a major upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 Professional, which can view Office Mobile documents more clearly; adding contacts is also easier through an in-house scanning tool that can add contacts simply by snapping a photo of a business card.
NVIDIA this morning gave a lift to normally slow integrated graphics with two additions to its GeForce 7-series cards. Its GeForce 7200 GS (pictured) is thought of as a drop-in fix for users who want faster 3D and Windows Vista performance than soldered-on integrated video can provide but without resorting to costlier upgrades. The PCI Express board can run up to 50 percent faster than the best integrated chipsets available, NVIDIA estimates. The card also inherits all the 3D shader support of the 7-series family and will also accelerate HD video performance. Cards using the fanless 7200 GS chipset should be on sale today through online hardware stores and PC sellers for under $50.
Sony-Ericsson on Tuesday released te S500. A new slider built with the US in mind, the previously leaked model comes in a relatively warm green or gold and is imagined as part of the life natural life cycle: the menu themes and hidden lighting change between day and night and will adapt between seasons. The 2-megapixel camera is only revealed when the phone is open to keep the lines clean and the lens safe. Sony-Ericsson also promises strong music with AAC and MP3 music played from a Memory Stick Micro slot, which can reach wireless headphones or speakers thanks to stereo Bluetooth support.
LG claimed today to have launched the world's first HDTV-native fridge, the LSC27990. Known also as just the HDTV Refrigerator, the side-by-side fridge has a 15-inch LCD on one door with an ATSC tuner for picking up HD broadcasts in the kitchen. LG's appliance is also one of the more connected devices in the kitchen with a four-inch LCD above the dispenser that can display weather, recipes, or calendars independently of the TV. A USB port also allows uploading a photo collection to the display for a miniature photo album.
The appliance designer hopes to have the titanium-colored LSC27990 in stores by the end of the spring at a price of $3,999.
Kenwood this morning released the MNA-350, a two-DIN head unit for small cars or other vehicles where multiple receivers are impractical. A GPS receiver is built-in and has a fixed, 3.5-inch display for navigation no matter what else is taking place with the stereo; an SD card slot lets the mapping component add new maps without affecting the rest of the system. Controls and an LED display on the right can play CDs (including those with AAC, MP3, or WMA songs), FM radio, or attached iPods without interruption.
Axiom today put a spin on bookshelf speakers with its Algonquin system. The company's latest audio hardware takes the unusual approach of converting a luxury living room set for use on patios or other areas which have in the past been limited to portable stereos. The 175-watt satellites have waterproof seams to guard against rain; subtler changes have also been made to the core design, such as an angled, grilled bass port that won't let in water or insects and gold-plated posts to prevent rust. The system is light enough at 9 pounds to be carried inside in a hurry for particularly bad weather.
Concrete specs for Samsung's Aura Q45 notebook have surfaced, based on an early leak. The glossy black notebook was previewed in March at CeBIT but had its performance largely unrevealed; new information, however, points to performance unusually strong for a 12-inch ultraportable. Based on Intel's Santa Rosa, the system should ship with a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo on the faster 800MHz bus. Graphics are quick through a 128MB GeForce Go 8400. Samsung should also have ample memory and storage with a minimum 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk.
Samsung is readying a third music player to its current roster, an official Czech catalog shows (PDF). The YP-U3 will update Samsung's iPod shuffle-like player with an FM tuner, complete with RDS support for track information on the 1-inch OLED screen. Storage also gets a boost with up to 4GB of MP3, OGG, or WMA songs. Battery life is still long for the device's small dimensions at 15 hours.
With no official announcement, the U3's prices and release date are unknown. A worldwide release is expected soon with 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB capacities in three colors. [via dapreview]
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