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The retail chain Fry's may make it easier to find an iPhone next month. An employee has reportedly told CrunchGear that Fry's will not only be selling the iPhone, but the necessary AT&T Wireless accounts, the first time the company has sold AT&T's services in its stores. Promotional materials are said to have already arrived (see right and below), and the first iPhones are set to be in stock June 5th. Displays will go up June 10th, and the product itself will supposedly go on sale June 11th. It is suggested that this is linked to Apple's WWDC conference, which does begin on that date, and typically starts with announcements by CEO Steve Jobs.
ASUS will soon release a video card with its own breakout box for performance users, an early preview shows. The OCgear will take its cue from the notebook-only XG Station and include a 5.25-inch drive bay control panel that will plug into a GeForce 8600 GT video card inside a desktop. Both a dial controller and an LCD will let users rapidly change the settings of the card without first turning to software, including overclocking the actual graphics chip, increasing fan speed, and monitoring the video hardware's temperature.
LG and Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo have revealed a new Simpure phone, the L2. The product uses a slider design by Gwenael Nicolas, who worked on the Game Boy Advance; in keeping with his past aesthetics, there are many straight lines on the phone, and the controls are all large and cleanly laid-out. It has a 2.2-inch screen with resolutions up to 176x220, plus a 1.3-megapixel camera. There is little mention of other possible features however, such as Bluetooth or music playback, and DoCoMo will only confirm World Wing service, which enables roaming on GSM, GPRS and WCDMA networks. The Simpure L2 should be available by August in black, white and gold. Click below for a larger image. [via Akihabara News]
Fujitsu brought Japanese design to the Milan, Italy-based Tokyo Design Premio expo yesterday with two new concepts that may become a production reality in the near future. Nicknamed the "Fab PC," the pictured notebook would use e-paper to create a soft, flexible display. The screen could literally wrap around the main notebook body and bend the image at a midpoint to separate taskbars at the bottom from app-related information above. Side benefits would include a much thinner and more impact-resistant display than for typical PCs. Backlighting for the keyboard and a very thin case would also be part of the design.
Researchers at HP Labs today previewed a unique concept it hopes will rethink the basics behind retail stores. Called the Retail Store Assistant, the computer kiosk will connect to the shop owner's network or the Internet to tailor the experience to the buyer. Instead of sending coupons that are often thrown aside, the company can track what regular visitors buy and customize the entire experience to their tastes: buyers could receive special discounts on favorite food or register to get word of new albums or books from preferred artists, HP says. The Assistant could further ease the process of finding items in a store by printing a grocery-style shopping list and even creating a custom map of the store.
Yoggie has developed a unique approach to PC security. The Pico is a USB stick, and contains 13 different security applications, including anti-virus, anti-spyware and intrusion prevention programs; what distinguishes it from the likes of the Virus Chaser is that it is a fully-functional computer, running a 520MHz Intel processor and a copy of Linux. Once plugged into a PC, the Pico starts working automatically, monitoring all Internet traffic.
Removing the Pico disables network connections, and once configured, it can enforce parental controls. Two versions of the Pico are planned for retail release in September: the standard Personal will cost $179, with a $30 license starting in the second year. The Pro meanwhile adds a VPN client, and will cost $199 with a $40 license.
Bluetooth specialist Parrot today unveiled two devices for avid cellphone users. The Party (shown at left) streams audio from any device with Bluetooth's A2DP stereo audio support, including many cellphones as well as a handful of media players and nearby PCs. A unique addition is an RF dongle that can plug into virtually any device with a headphone jack to play music without cables. Its size also belies its sound quality, Parrot claims. Onboard hardware both widens the sound field for the 6W stereo and can artificially deepen bass for dance music.
Philips today quietly introduced a new range of video-oriented jukeboxes. The GoGear SA6000 tilts on its side for watching WMV clips at full speed on the 2.2-inch LCD for up to four hours thanks to the use of flash memory. AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime clips can be converted using bundled software, the Dutch firm says. Audio format support is wider with 15 hours of playback for MP3, WAV, and WMA, including protected songs from PlaysForSure stores. An FM tuner backs up the digital music offerings.
PayPlay.FM today began selling its catalog of 1.3 million audio tracks in unprotected MP3 format for $0.88 cents per song, beating out Apple's iTunes Store which charges $0.99 cents per track while matching the Cupertino-based company's efforts to offer DRM-free music. PayPlay works with Mac, Windows, and Unix platforms by providing music without monthly subscription services and without advertisements or plug-ins. PayPlay's browser-based interface and buy-to-own model deliver music in 192Kbps VBR sound, higher quality than iTunes' 128Kbps tracks which cost $0.10 cents more. Apple's iTunes Store currently dominates digital music sales, however, providing iPod owners with an easy way to purchase, load, and listen to tracks on the portable device as well as from the home PC or Mac.
AT&T has published an internal guide (seen right and below) to the upcoming A717 by Samsung, and in so doing, changed what we know about the phone. While it is indeed abandoning EVDO for UMTS, it is not making the leap to HSDPA, which would have produced speeds of about 3.6Mbps. The front-facing camera will nevertheless be usable with Video Share, which may not be two-way streaming, but still requires substantial bandwidth. AT&T Music and Cellular Video options will be available as on many other phones. The A717 is due at AT&T/Cingular around the middle of the year. [via Boy Genius Report]
Aiptek today claimed to have broken multiple records by launching its GO-HD camcorder. The device is one of the most inexpensive cameras ever to capture HD video: while set for a $300 price, the GO-HD can record 720p widescreen clips at a full 30 frames per second. The use of real-time H.264 (AVCHD) encoding also packs video efficiently and allows for as much as four hours of full-quality video when using an 8GB SDHC card. Size is also breakthrough for the class, Aiptek boasts. At 4.5 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide, the camera is small enough to be pocketable and can be used one-handed.
Assertions that Microsoft was ahead of the curve on Zune production were inaccurate, says an investigation by Business 2.0 into the subject. The magazine found that Microsoft Entertainment division head Robbie Bach has been misquoted in the text version of his interview, which alleged that Microsoft had already beaten its modest goal of selling more than a million of its media players by June. The executive had just reiterated earlier claims, according to the actual quote.
PQI today unveiled a quartet of updates to its flash storage, including a new champion for its SSD Turbo+ line of flash hard disks. The 256GB model stores four times as much data as the company's previous 64GB model and is larger than most any alternative while still fitting into a 2.5-inch Serial ATA drive that can slot inside contemporary notebooks. The company claims that the notebook is faster than most magnetic hard drives; while transfer rates peak at 60MB per second, the lack of rotation can speed up the overall responsiveness of most PCs. It also draws out the longevity of the drive to about 10 years and lowers power use, PQI adds.
As a counterpart to its higher-end Santa Rosa laptops, Mouse Computer of Japan has released the new LuvBook PL500, a cheaper alternative with four different configurations. The most powerful is the 500X, which has a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, as well as a Radeon Xpress 200M, and 1GB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to 2GB). The hard drive is limited to 80GB, but this should be alleviated by the presence of a Super Multi DVD burner.
All four models use a 15.4-inch screen that supports resolutions up to 1280x800. The base configuration costs 79,800 yen ($656), but the ideal model is priced at 99,750 yen ($819) before any upgrades. [via Akihabara News]
The UK division of Sharp has released two new stereo systems designed around the iPod. The DKA1H and DKA10H each have 14W of RMS output, with the unusual division of 2W per channel plus two 5W subwoofers, rather than the single subwoofer used in most home systems. The clocks allow both sleep and wake functions, and the iPods themselves can be controlled with an included remote. Video iPods can feed to a TV through an auxiliary port; the 10H adds a CD player than can handle discs burned with MP3 or WMA files. The full list of compatible iPods is unknown, but the stereos are selling for £149 ($296) and £199 ($395). [via T3]
Sony Japan has announced the upcoming VDR-MC5, a device for burning camcorder videos. Rather than hook up a camcorder to a computer, users can use the MC5 to author both HD- and SD-quality videos, and even conduct some simple editing using a display and a control pad. Further adding to options is a card reader, which can pull photos from CF, xD, SD/SDHC and Memory Stick cards, and burn them to slideshow discs complete with music. The MC5 works with both MiniDV- and hard drive-based camcorders, and should ship to Japan August 10th for 30,000 yen ($246). [via Akihabara News]
iRobot is set to completely overhaul its Roomba cleaning robots this year, according to sources with access to advance information. The 520, 530, and 540 will be similar to today's Red, Discovery, and Scheduler models in purpose but will include smarter navigation and a new interface. Owners will have the option of a new peripheral dubbed the Lighthouse that will help the robot tell which rooms have been cleaned to avoid wasting energy; the virtual wall feature that keeps the Roomba out of certain areas will also trigger itself rather than require user input. The top should be reworked with a central activation button and display.
The first tangible information about the ThinkPad Reserve Edition today surfaced on the web through a series of images and early detais. Confirming previous theories as well as allusions made through Lenovo's teaser images, the single completely new image (shown) points to a notebook with a leather-bound shell but the ThinkPad's signature black body underneath. Research also indicates that the notebook is similar (but not identical to) the company's 2006 "Yoga" concept through its hinge. Rather than rely on solid joints, the Reserve is likely to employ a flexible hinge that can bend the display completely behind the main case, turning the notebook into either a tablet or a portable desktop with a wireless keyboard.
Edging the system closer to its North American release, Sony today launched the VAIO TZ notebook for Europe. Close in spirit to the Japanese model released earlier this month, the 11-inch widescreen PC shares the MacBook-like, trayless keyboard -- now titled the Full Flat design -- and the accompanying bulk-reducing features, such as a thinner and more color-accurate LED-backlit display and the option of a carbon fiber shell.
Updated with official statement Quanta Computer will be the second company to produce the iPhone in its factories, according to the Chinese Commercial Times paper. The Taiwan-based assembler is said to be joining Foxconn in producing the handset and will produce five million of the high-end handsets with its initial contract, which should start in September and will be targeted at international buyers rather than the US, which will only receive Foxconn-produced models starting from its June launch.
Toshiba startled the PC business on Tuesday by revealing that it will use AMD processors in future notebooks. The Japanese firm, which has until now relied exclusively on Intel chips for its portables, has said that it will introduce the CPUs into its systems in part as a bid to drive costs down for itself and for end users: end-users will see systems drop in price as much as $82 compared to Intel models. The move would primarily involve mid-range systems rather than the extremes of budget or high-end models, Toshiba says.
Sony on Tuesday ventured into HD Radio with its first two units, alternately aimed at desks and cars. The XDR-S3HD (pictured) is meant to blend into most desk or bookshelp layouts with a cherry wood finish and a covered grill, but draws on modern technology for its features. The use of the digital radio standard lets the S3HD put song information on its main LCD and also enables virtual surround for the more advanced stations; AM and FM tuning are available as fallbacks, and an aux-in jack will pipe audio from any portable music player with a headphone port. The radio further adds an alarm clock and should be available in July for $200.
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