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Although hard drives reaching the 1TB total mark are beginning to hit the market, a new technology may help open the doors to much greater capacities. Researchers from Toshiba and Tohoku University have developed heads that read sectors with a density of 1TB per square inch, resulting in prototype drives (not pictured) that can hold several times the current maximum. The key is a concept called nanocontact magnetic resistance (NC-MR), which should dramatically increase the accuracy of a head. Unfortunately for the public, however, the first commercial drives to use NC-MR are at least five years away. [via Ars Technica]
Voice recorders and MP3 players tend to be distinct products, but not so with the YV-150, which resembles high-gloss players like the K3 more than traditional dictation equipment. It is nevertheless able to record up to 66 hours of audio (on the 1GB version), with the option of a super-high quality mode that allows for 16 hours. Text files written in English, Chinese or Japanese, meanwhile, can be converted into synthesized voice. When not being used for work, it can play MP3 and WMA music tracks, as well as tune in and record FM radio. 512MB and 1GB models should be available now in Korea at an unspecified price. [via Mobile Whack]
iRiver's Clix 2 is set to receive its first storage upgrade since launch, the company revealed through news sent to an enthusiast site for the media player. The music, photo, and video player should see an upgrade to 8GB of flash memory; much as with the 4GB original Clix, the storage change will also mark a cosmetic change with a red stripe signaling the change. The dimensions (including weight) will stay the same, iRiver says.
The Samsung BlackJack should be one of the next smartphones to receive an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6, based on an upcoming German firmware update. The i600 Ultra Messaging, as the device is known outside of the US, is set to receive an official Samsung update to the new OS that should give the device the improved browsing and 'push' data of the software. Whether or not the update would WM6 Standard or the more advanced Professional edition was unclear.
A new chip from Fujitsu may soon make HD cheaper and more compact. Called the MB86H51, it is unique for being the only LSI (large-scaled integrated) chip to both encode and decode H.264 video; typically, these tasks would be divided between two chips. The H51 also has onboard memory, and is capable of resolutions as high as 1080i or 720p. It is mainly expected to be used in recording products such as camcorders, DVR units and unspecified "home network devices." Professional uses will involve security cameras and TV broadcasting. Production should begin in July, with each chip costing 30,000 yen ($248).
Miracube today put a new spin on a familiar concept with its G320S. Meant for games and movies, the 32-inch widescreen can use stereoscopic glasses to add depth to any content that includes the extra code. Its resolution is the 1366x768 common to many 720p-native TV sets but dips in sharpness only slightly compared to many 3D screens, shrinking the image to 1366x384 when the extra axis is factored in and will maintain its full 16.7 million colors. Officially intended for computers, the G320S has both DVI and VGA support but can accept HD resolutions up to 1080i from movie players and consoles with the correct outputs.
In a bid to regain some lost ground to chip making industry-leaders Intel and AMD, IBM has announced that its dual-core POWER6 microprocessor -- due to ship next month -- will top out at 4.7GHz, but draws about the same amount of power as the company's previous generation processors. The new processors, designed for high-end servers, push IBM to the forefront of performance computing: while others have focused on multiple cores, IBM is offering megahertz performance in a dual-core chip. According to the company, the new processor boasts bandwidth of 300GB per second, offering the ability to "download the entire iTunes catalog in about 60 seconds - 30 times faster than HP's Itanium."
Major record label EMI announced today that it had been taken over by Terra Firma, a private equity group. The $4.7 billion deal would see the group receive official control but would leave the music publisher essentially intact, rather than splitting off some of its business as had been suspected by some experts. Terra Firma had reportedly won an intense bidding war as its deal posed the least risk. EMI is said to have welcomed a potential buyout after struggling with falling sales, which cut its most recent profit by 60 percent.
Mio on Monday announced that it had started shipping the C520, its previously-announced mid-range GPS unit. The receiver first seen during CES in January brings a 4.3-inch wide touchscreen that helps view maps without affecting control, and a Bluetooth transmitter for hands-free cellphone calls. It also claims an advanced voice guidance system that Mio says produces more natural-sounding directions than other companies have offered in the past. A simplified media player is also part of the design.
Taiwanese electronics giant ASUS has revealed a new smartphone, the M530w. Aimed at business users, one of the device's main selling points is support for four different e-mail servers, including POP3, IMAP4, BlackBerry 4.0 and Microsoft Exchange. The phone is further able to receive push mail through Outlook, and uses a PC-like QWERTY keypad to making typing easier.
UMTS allows roaming 3G abilities including video calls, while 802.11b/g Wi-Fi provides a local alternative. The still camera, notably, is a two-megapixel autofocus model with a macro function, which should offer an edge when scanning business cards. Bluetooth 2.0 enables high-speed device sync.
World cell carrier Vodafone today revealed a pair of phones targeted expressly at developing countries, where the costs of typical cellphones exclude much of the local population. Similar to the Nokia 1200 series, the Vodafone 125 and 225 (pictured) are made by China's ZTE to cover areas on the very fringes of service without adding a serious financial burden. While exact details of the phones remain unknown, the 125 is an extra-simple model with a monochrome screen; the 225 has the same core feature set with a color LCD for easier navigation of its icon-based interface.
NextComputing today unveiled a unique performance upgrad to its NextDimension Evo and Pro PCs. Dubbed "flextops" for building a desktop's performance into a briefcase-sized system, the PCs are some of the first semi-portables to include quad-core Xeons: the use of Intel's newer low-power CPUs cuts power to less than 50W for the whole chip compared to 80W for the normal version, letting it run coolly and with a smaller power supply. Two quad-core chips can fit into one computer for situations that require eight cores, the company says. Each system also uses Seagate's recent 160GB, 7200RPM drive for desktop loading times; Evo models can store as many as 12 of the drives for especially demanding tasks.
Western Digital has begun shipping an upgrade to one of its laptop hard drives, the 2.5-inch Scorpio. Though it is available in other capacities ranging from 40 to 160GB, the new flagship model is 250GB, putting it in direct competition with Samsung's Spinpoint M5. Like the M5, the Scorpio is rated at 5,400rpm, and has a 1.5Gbps SATA interface; Western believes it has an edge with its "WhisperDrive" technology, which uses special seek algorithms to keep noise down, and reduce power consumption by up to 60 percent. It should be priced at about $227. [via Pocket-lint]
Following its introduction earlier this month, the ASUS G1S is receiving its first definitive model, thanks to a new preorder site from ExcaliberPC. The G1S-A1 will be one of ASUS' fastest versions with a higher-end 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, and 160GB of hard disk storage. All the standard features of the 15.4-inch portable will also help its gaming role, including a 256MB GeForce 8600M GT, 802.11n wireless, and HDMI output for those who link the system to an HDTV.
The major American group Alltel has become the latest cellphone carrier to be absorbed through merger. The company has specifically been bought by two private equity firms, TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, who are buying all of Alltel's outstanding stock at a price of $71.50 per share -- 23 percent more than the stock was worth on December 29th, and part of a total acquisition plan valued at $27.5 billion.
While the deal must still be approved by Alltel's other shareholders, the Board of Directors has already voted for it unanimously, and it is unlikely to be seriously opposed. As currently laid out the merger will take effect by the first quarter of 2008, and current CEO Scott Ford will keep his position.
The Korean home division of LG is releasing two new phones, both under the 300 series. The SC330 (pictured) is a slider design, and has features such as MP3 playback and a 1.3-megapixel camera. It also comes loaded with an electronic dictionary, and can be used for banking where such services are supported. The phone should already be on the market.
Coming on May 25th is the SV300, also known as the Wine. The device is a clamshell model, and has MP3 playback, a 2.2-inch screen and a camera with an unknown megapixel rating. The phone further appears to be thinner than the SC330, even when closed, and has larger buttons for easier dialing. Its price is expected to be 300,000 won ($321). Click below for more images. [via Akihabara News]
Dell is indeed working on a tablet version of its Latitude business notebooks, according to an official video from the company's feedback blog. The still unnamed PC will be a true convertible tablet that can switch from a typical notebook display to a vertical tablet useful for drawing and taking notes. Windows Vista Business is certain to be included for the necessary tablet support unavailable in Vista Home Basic. The shown system is small and is likely to be a revamped edition of the 12-inch D420, which may gain Intel's Santa Rosa architecture as part of the change.
The iPhone is instrumental to the change from Cingular branding to AT&T, according to the US cell provider. In announcing a switch on Monday to the new company name for the logos within all of its 1,800 stores, company spokesman Michael Coe was adamant that the Apple device be associated with AT&T and not Cingular, as the expected popularity would be essential to generating goodwill for the company's future rather than its past.
Typically known as a straight-forward, often business-oriented computer maker, Toshiba has taken the unusual turn of starting LapJacks, a service that creates custom skins for laptop lids. The skins are made of removable vinyl, and can be ordered to fit any size of laptop, regardless of whether or not the computer is made by Toshiba.
Buyers can upload a custom picture or pick from a variety of stock images, under categories such as Abstract, Photography, Sports or Machinery. Toshiba is particularly targeting LapJacks at schools and businesses, who can opt for permanent glue to ensure that a system remains branded property. The skins are currently available only in the UK; a stock image costs £15 ($30), while a custom one is £30 ($59).
The often-rumored watermelon Zune is real, according to a pair of photos snapped at a recent press event by photographer and designer Mark Hunter. Much like the pink model, the watermelon version has silver trim and a clear double-shot plastic casing. No changes in features have been referenced in the leak, pointing to the player as another special edition that will mark the end of the 30GB original player before new models appear in the fall.
Continuing its announcements today, Sony's Korean division made the surprise announcement of an 80GB PlayStation 3 console. Previously confirmed in a production leak, the console tops the 60GB limit in other countries and offers a third more space for downloads of games and movies from the PlayStation online store as well as extra room for the user's own media collection. Features are otherwise unchanged from the previous high-end PS3 with a multi-format card reader and 802.11g Wi-Fi.
Panasonic on Monday morning upgraded its Lumix compact cameras with a single model, the FX100. Like the Casio Z1200 also revealed today, the FX100 features a 12-megapixel sensor for extremely sharp images, and includes similar image stabilization as well as automatic ISO compensation for dark or fast scenes. Unique to the Panasonic model, however, is full HD video recording: owners with enough SD or SDHC storage can capture video up to 1920x1080 (1080p) or at the more common 1280x720 (720p) by cutting the recording speed to 15 frames per second. This helps show captured footage at an HDTV's native display, says Panasonic.
Sony has just grown its Walkman line to include two new video players. Unlike the A800 Video Walkman, which adds video as a bonus, the 2.4-inch U50 (pictured) and 4.3-inch M70 each focus on video with H.264 and MPEG-4 playback on a larger screen. Audio includes AAC, MP3, and unprotected WMA. Both systems also share an FM tuner for when the onboard flash memory runs out and can record audio directly instead of through its microphone.
Casio today launched a new range-topping model for its Exilim Zoom series. As suggested by its name, the Exilim Z1200 is the company's sharpest compact camera with a new 12.1-megapixel sensor that captures up to 4000x3000 images with a 3X optical zoom lens. The same sensor also includes an auto-ISO Best Shot mode that can raise sensitivity for fast-moving subjects. The compact camera also comes with sensor-shift image stabilization to correct shaking and face detection to help create portraits.
Samsung this week will display its new e-paper concept prototypes along with its display products at the 45th annual Society for Display (SID) 2007 exhibition in Long Beach, California (May 22-24). The company is exhibiting its 40-inch LCD TV with LED backlight, which offers a contrast ratio of 10,000:1--almost five times higher than that of LCD panels with a CCFL backlight, the company claims. In addition, it says that color saturation is also 105 percent of the NTSC standard.
The company is also exhibiting the world's largest (A4-sized, 14.3-inch diagonal) color "electronic paper", a plastic, flexible display that it claims can deliver undistorted color images even when the surface is bent. The e-paper device also continues to show a static image after power has been shut off. For the "concept" model, the company used 130-degree celsius low-temperature amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon processing to prevent distortion of the plastic substrate.
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