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The Taiwan-based maker Mustek is preparing a new, low-cost GPS unit, simply called the GPS 200. It has a 4.2-inch VGA screen, and the processor is a mere 200MHz chip, where others are often 400MHz or faster. It does however have a SiRFstar III receiver, as well as the ability to play MP3 audio and MPEG-4 video. The navigation software is Destinator 6, which provides 2D map views and voice guidance for each turn; a bundled 512MB SD card contains maps for 30 European countries. Traffic information is optional. No release date is available, but the cost will be €249 ($337). [via GPSAndCo]
Skype today announced a new deal with Wal-Mart that would see the Internet phone service provider's goods in the large retailer's stores. Visitors to the shops will have the the option of buying VoIP-supporting handsets and earpieces in a readily identifiable section of the store, which Skype says will give a tremendous amount of added exposure. Completely new for any American store, however, is the option of pre-paid cards: those using any Skype software will have the option of making SkypeOut calls to real-world numbers without a subscription or a credit card.
Though just announced last week, Sprint has already begun selling Palm's Treo 755p. As noted, it is the first CDMA Treo to use an internalized antenna, and it is also the first Palm OS-based Treo to support Microsoft's Direct Push e-mail technology. Sprint confirms that the phone supports MP3 playback, and talk time is being rated at a healthy 4.2 hours. The phone costs $580 unlocked; this can be brought down to $280, however, with a two-year contract and a mail-in rebate. Blue and burgundy colors are available.
Microsoft would like to take royalties from Linux and other free, open-source software, according to the company. The Windows developer alleges that the operating system and related programs infringe on 235 design patents -- 107 of which are trampled on by Linux and its interface alone. Microsoft's licensing chief Horatio Gutierrez claims that the sheer volume isn't coincidental.
"This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement," he says. "There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."
Although Sinar may not be a famous name to the public, it is fairly well-known in professional circles, as it specializes in medium- to large-format cameras used for fashion, advertising and architecture. The company has just announced that its newest medium-format camera, the Hy6, will finally be arriving in the United States in mid-July. Its most notable feature is the ability to handle both 6x4.5 (wide) and 6x6cm (square) images, a factor that often limits rivals from the likes of Hasselblad.
The camera accepts lenses from Sinaron, Zeiss and Schneider, including autofocus variants, and has an impressive flash-sync speed of 1/1000, faster than virtually any other commercial camera. Two versions will be sold in the US: one with the eMotion 75LV back will cost $32,500, but buyers will be able to switch to the eMotion 54LV and drop the price to $30,500.
RIM's BlackBerry Pearl should see a major revision by late summer, according to sources aware of long-term plans. Internally called the 8120, the upgraded phone would take high-end features from premium BlackBerries and those yet to be released. Native GPS would come over from the Curve for route-finding in a smaller form. So far unreleased in any of RIM's newer devices is Wi-Fi, which should provide an alternative to cell-based EDGE access. The camera will also be upgraded to a 2-megapixel sensor versus the 1.3-megapixel unit that shipped in 2006.
Although long absent from the US, the recently revitalized Packard Bell has just released a pair of EasyNote portables based on Intel's new Santa Rosa mobile architecture. The SB85 and SB86 are each quick mid-range notebooks with a 15.4-inch display and extensive connection options, including an HDMI output, eSATA for fast external hard drives, and 802.11n for Wi-Fi. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is tucked into the display lid. Each is also game- and HD-friendly with a GeForce 8600M GS for quick 3D.
Memorex today hopes to stand out in a crowded field by releasing the MMP8640, its own approach to pocket music and video players. Distinguishing the player is a unique LED-lit design: the keypad and the onscreen interface are switchable to any one of six colors depending on the user's tastes at a given moment. The device also delivers extra room for its MPEG-4 videos and MP3/WMA songs than most flash-based players by offering a miniSD card slot for growing storage beyond the 4GB built into the player from the outset.
The Chinese site Phone Daily carries word of the VIP 007, a product on sale in the country which appears to plagiarize the James Bond franchise, down to an "autograph" and wallpaper taken from recent movie posters. Click below for more images. While the keypad, metallic frame and large LCD support the "spy tech" illusion, the VIP is otherwise a strange tie-in -- rather than being compact, it is actually sized and shaped more like a 1980s' cellphone, complete with a large external antenna. The back is carved with stars and a goat, and one of the programs has the option of cute or horror-themed borders.
Hardware specifications are generally unknown, except that the phone connects to GSM networks, plays music files, and has some form of camera. Cited prices are most likely inaccurate. [via Akihabara News]
Sprint on Monday began carrying the Samsung M510. The clamshell serves as a shrunken version of the M610 released late last year, trading a slight gain in thickness (from 0.47 to 0.64 inches) in exchange for smaller overall dimensions. The camera is the only other main sacrifice with a fixed 1.3-megapixel replacing the 2-megapixel swiveling sensor on the larger model. A microSD slot handles music and video clips while support exists for assistive GPS.
Joint venture LG.Philips LCD has laid claim to the world's first flexible, color e-paper in the A4 size (8x10), also known as the most common pulp paper format; this statement may be misleading however, as Fujitsu said the same in April. LG.Philips' technology is able to display 4,096 colors, and can be viewed from an impresssive 180 degrees, wider even than virtually any LCD. Its production involves a proprietary process than reduces panel deformation, and prevents change in circuit structures due to high temperatures. Unlike Fujitsu, no specfic products have as yet been announced. [via DigiTimes]
The iPhone could well push the cost of phones upwards in the US, Nokia CFO Rick Simonson said at a summit on Monday. The executive noted that the already high attention given to the Apple device could change attitudes towards smartphones and other media-savvy devices in the US, where cellphone owners are used to less expensive but also more limited handsets -- a feature that could play into the hands of Nokia, whose line is increasingly reliant on costly media and network connections.
Complementing its LCD announcements, Mitsubishi has revealed a full nine new DLP sets (not pictured), each of which is 1080p-capable, and uses the company's 6-Color Light Engine to (in theory) produce richer colors. At the base is the 733 Series, which consists of 57- ($2,499), 65- ($2,999), and 73-inch ($4,699) models, all equipped with three HDMI 1.3 ports in the back, and a component port in the front.
The same sizes are present in the 734 Series, but they add a front HDMI input, as well as image-enhancement technologies such as PerfecTint, Dark Detailer and DeepField, which produces dynamic contrast. SharpEdge is designed to produce more defined object edges. Prices begin at $2,799 for the 57-inch set.
Samsung today showed off a new technology that could greatly improve not just the cost but also the efficiency of flat-panel TVs. While Samsung itself has already unveiled LED-backlit screens that promise better color and lower power consumption compared to the cold-cathode screens usually seen today, the company's new White LED technology should improve this even further. The White LED reduces the number of elements in the backlight from red, green, and blue to a single blue unit. The shrink reduces the cost to produce LEDs and makes it more realistic option for larger sets; it also eliminates pollutants such as halogen and mercury.
Unconfirmed rumors suggest that Sanyo will be releasing an update to its PLV-Z5 projector (see right) in July, suitably named the Z6. As depicted, the new system would be a considerable upgrade, boosting contrast to 14,000:1 (from the current 10,000:1), and offering not one but two HDMI 1.3 ports. The brightness is expected to drop by 100 lumens to 1,000 however, and supported resolutions are unknown. I4U News speculates that while the Z5 already supports 720p, the Z6 is unlikely to make the leap to 1080p, as that might add considerably to the cost.
Motorola's "monster" phone may be its long-awaited direct sequel to the RAZR, based on new photos and their accompanying details. Known alternately as the LAZR or V9m, the new clamshell has received more info since its first leak and promises to be one of the company's more advanced devices to date. The extremely large external display will have a touchscreen interface that lets owners check e-mail, play music, or other features without having to flip open the shell. Its interface will also be vivid through the use of Adobe Flash.
ASUS has revealed an upgrade to its popular Lamborghini VX2 laptop, the VX2S. Like its predecessor, the VX2S will have signature Lamborghini stylings, such as the emblem and the use of carbon fiber and magnesium alloys; the primary change will be the switch to Intel's Santa Rosa platform, in this case a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, with 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11a/g/n will come standard. Reflecting its power-user audience, it will also be one of the first Santa Rosa laptops to have a Blu-Ray drive, and its video card will be the new GeForce 8600M GT. No price has been mentioned, but the system should ship by the end of June. [via notebook italia]
Lexar today revamped its JumpDrive Secure II with the new Plus model. The USB stick continues to rely on the 256-bit AES encryption that automatically locks files on the drive and can securely erase them through a FileShredder function; new, however, is an e-paper storage display borrowed from the Mercury that displays the filled space on the drive without requiring a battery.
Mitsubishi this morning released a complete overhaul of its LT-series LCD televisions with a full eight new models for North America. Each model boasts a native 1080p resolution regardless of size and HDMI 1.3 for deep color; unique to Mitsubishi is a "Thin Frame" bezel which is only an inch thick, which lets larger screens fit into tighter home theater cabinets. At the base are the 133 series 40-, 46-, and 52-inch ($2,699, $3,399, and $4,499) with three of the new HDMI inputs. A single 134-series model at $2,899 moves one of the HDMI ports to the side for cameras and consoles, and adds PerfecTint for finer-grained color control as well as the NetCommand feature for unified control of many HDMI-equipped devices beyond the TV.
AMD today made public its Phenom processor technology. Dubbed a successor to the Athlon, the CPU will be one of the first true quad-core desktop processors, according to AMD; unlike Intel's Core 2 Quad or Xeon 5300, the Phenom in its X4 version will have four cores that can speak directly with each other at high speed rather than two dual-core halves that need to use the less efficient system bus. An even more advanced version, known as the Phenom FX, will also work with a special dual-socked mainboard platform known as the FASN8 ("fascinate") for eight-core gaming and workstation systems.
AMD this morning introduced the ATI Radeon HD 2000 graphics line, its first video chipsets designed with a unified shader architecture that allows the more advanced high dynamic color range and other advanced geometry and pixel effects possible in newer OpenGL programs as well as Windows Vista's DirectX 10. Cards have as many as 320 individual stream (shader) processors for brute-force acceleration, AMD says; the new chips also have native Crossfire hardware onboard that lets them pair up in dual PCI Express slots without demanding a master card or a specialized Crossfire cable. Vendor-specific cards can include HDMI out with audio for turning a system into a media center PC.
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