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Averatec today brought out a lower-cost alternative in ultra-compact laptops through the 1579, an 11-inch all-in-one. The released system matches its leaked specs by using a 1.06GHz ULV Core Duo to extend battery life to four hours in spite of the small size and a weight of 3.4 pounds. Averatec also finds room for larger notebook storage, packing both a DVD-RW drive and a 120GB, 5400 RPM hard disk into the frame.
AT&T feels it worthwhile to drum up anticipation in the few weeks ahead of the iPhone's release, the company's COO (and future CEO) Randall Stephenson said at a conference today. The executive was convinced that the Apple device would be a "game changer" for the cellphone business and make many customers -- and operators -- rethink their approach to phones. Many casual users were now more receptive to smartphones and other multi-purpose devices than they were in the past, Stephenson said, which reportedly merited far more publicity and praise than had already been given so far.
Most of Microsoft's efforts to lock down Vista were wasted, according to a new study. Although built on the more secure Windows Server 2003 platform and including new features such as User Account Control to prevent some automatic infections, the new OS shows "little or no security gains" compared to its five-year-old predecessor Windows XP. Systems using the default security tools were connected directly to the Internet in the study and were found to be roughly as vulnerable to attack, including both direct attacks and web-based exploits
Sony this afternoon switched its attention to home theater with the launch of new house-wide theater install systems. The rack-mounted NHS line receives the largest upgrade with three models all built for piping HD video around new homes. Each can address as many as 13 different zones, playing either HDTV or a single Blu-Ray movie complete with 7.1-channel audio through HDMI; the system also handles music through an 80GB hard disk, XM satellite radio, and AM/FM. The entire system is controlled through keypads located at each zone and can be triggered from almost anywhere in the home using a touchscreen remote, the company says.
Palm has at last unveiled the Foleo, one of the world's first smartphone companions. As hinted by a last-minute slip, the Foleo serves as a more powerful way of managing e-mail and work: a 10-inch LCD and a full QWERTY keyboard provide extra space for editing Microsoft Office documents or checking messages. Owners can regularly synchronize files back and forth to ensure that they stay current when the Foleo is left behind. New in the official release is the confirmation of Internet access. The Foleo can browse the web or check e-mail using a custom version of the Opera web browser and a mail client; the connection can be made using either a Bluetooth link to a phone with cellular Internet or through its own Wi-Fi. A USB port and an SD card slot provide room for peripherals and extra storage, while a headphone jack allows listening to media without plugging into the phone itself.
The Taiwanese company DXG is pushing farther into the digital camera realm with the DXG-711, a seven-megapixel compact with 3x optical zoom. It can also interpolate images up to the 10-megapixel level, and record 30fps, 640x480 video, as well as audio memos in the MP3 format. The camera has only 32MB of onboard storage, but can expand to 2GB through a microSD slot. More restrictive is the camera's ISO sensitivity, which peaks at 400, requiring virtually all indoor shots to use the camera's flash. Fifteen different preset modes do, however, include "Face Chaser" and "Blur Reduction." DXG is selling the 711 directly and at retail for $150.
Microtek has begun shipping the ScanMaker s450, an inexpensive flatbed scanner designed for the home. It is particularly aimed at those with photo film libraries, since it has an adapter for 35mm negatives and slides, and software called ColoRescue that attempts to resaturate faded photos. The bed itself scans images as large as 8.5x11.7 inches, and has a resolution of 4800x9600dpi with 48-bit color. For convenience, buttons on the front of the 450 allow users to scan directly to print, e-mail, OCR and PDF. The scanner is Mac and Windows compatible, and is being sold for $100 at retailers such as Fry's and Office Depot.
LG today pushed further into hybrid LCDs with the M228WA, a 22-inch computer display designed to also stand in as a TV in tighter spots. An HDMI input is built-in for accepting feeds from digital sources, including 1080p signals from HD DVD players or game consoles such as the PlayStation 3; an analog TV tuner also pipes in TV from conventional sources without the need for a separate cable box. Outside speakers are also unneeded: a chin-mounted six-watt stereo will play audio from any other source, including those connected to the component, RCA, and S-video inputs for analog video. PC users receive a third benefit in the form of USB video support, according to LG's claims. A USB port on the display can add another screen without extra video outputs or a second video card.
Targeting the enterprise level, Fujitsu has launched four new lines of hard drives that push the respective speed limits of their sizes. The centerpiece is the 2.5-inch MBC2 series, which has speeds of up to 15,000rpm -- a rarity in the business world, and unseen in consumer laptops. The drives further use SATA and the recently-developed SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) interface, which increases reliability and maximum bandwidth.
Equally new is the 3.5-inch MBA3 series, also rated at 15,000rpm, and the 2.5-inch MBB2 line running at 10,000rpm. The MHW2 BK series (2.5 inches) is closer to the consumer level at 7,200rpm, but is designed for 24-hour operation.
As part of SoftBank's summer phone collection, Sharp has released the 913SH. Considered one of the first "full face" sliders, the 913SH moves the arrow pad normally found on the top shell to the bottom to make room for a large 2.8-inch LCD as well as hidden, touch-sensitive controls for music and video playback. It also represents one of the more advanced 3G-capable phones, according to SoftBank. A 2-megapixel camera at the back is more common, but the use of HSDPA Internet access and newer hardware lets Sharp integrate a front 1-megapixel camera -- one of the largest ever of its kind -- for live video calls and recording clips.
Samsung is said to be developing a new smartphone called the i620. Though nominally related to the i600, it is considerably different stylistically, since it is not only a slider but clad in metallic colors, and equipped with seamless frontside buttons. The direction pad, meanwhile, has been flattened out into a wheel. Features are otherwise very similar, such as HSDPA, Wi-Fi, and a VGA front camera; the only real upgrade is the rear camera, which has jumped from 1.3 to two megapixels. No regions or dates have been attached to the phone, but since it is merely a GSM tri-band unit, it will likely remain in Asia and Europe. [via Unwired View]
Palm's mystery device to be announced today has been revealed, courtesy of a press release that surfaced early. To be called the Foleo, the device will be the world's first smartphone companion: the device synchronizes with a Treo or other phone to work on e-mail or office documents, providing the extra workspace when necessary while giving the opportunity to leave the companion at home or work when its features aren't necessary. The Foleo will also be Palm's first Linux handheld and will use the open nature of the OS to provide hooks for new software; besides compatibility with non-Palm devices, the Foleo should also have an Opera web browser and other software available upon its release.
The popular Last.fm website, based in the United Kingdom, has been bought by the American CBS Corporation for £140 million, or $280 million. The site's current management will remain in place however, and CBS is said to be averse to changing content. Last.fm allows users not only to see what they and their friends are listening to, but participate in related forums, and listen to personalized music streams. It is these community and syndication aspects that CBS is after. "Last.fm is one of the fastest growing online communities out there," says CEO Leslie Moonves. "Their demographics also play perfectly to CBS's goal to attract younger viewers and listeners across our businesses."
QiGO used the opening of the D: All Things Digital conference today to unveil its Internet Content Key, a distinctive take on the traditional USB flash drive. Each variety of the Key is designed to automatically launch a media suite simply by plugging the drive in; unlike most drives, however, the QiGO Keys are Internet-connected and can enable dynamic content that changes over time: music and videos from a band can change as new singles are released. Subscriptions and other services are possible since each drive is unique and doesn't require a registration to work. Other Keys can play online games and will even create a "walled garden" for kids, the company says. Plugging in a game, for example, could allow younger users to play online while blocking out the rest of the Internet.
Lenovo has quietly updated the V200 with Intel's fresher Santa Rosa platform, making it only the third system after the N200 and T61 to receive the upgrade. The V200 is one of the PC maker's smallest systems with a 12-inch widescreen but includes faster chips, offering either a 1.8GHz or 2GHz Core 2 Duo on an 800MHz bus as well as a GMA X3100 graphics chipset for full DirectX 10 support in Vista Home Premium. A higher-end version also includes draft 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Pioneer today launched two DVD writers for the home but made with backups in mind. The DVR-X122 is both the company's external offering as well as the fastest of the two launched today. The drive plugs into the USB 2.0 port on most PCs and burns single-layer DVD-R discs at 18X, making it one of the company's fastest drives. It can also burn dual-layer discs at an unusually high 10X speed for write-once discs, Pioneer says. PCs with internal IDE connections can use the DVR-R200; while slightly slower at 16X (single-layer) and 8X (dual-layer), the drive gains LightScribe support for creating labels directly on the disc surface.
AT&T on Wednesday launched its version of the BlackBerry Curve, the first version of RIM's new smartphone available anywhere in North America. The provider stays close to the original model with the 2-megapixel camera, Roxio media player software, and support for GPS through TeleNav software. New to the AT&T version is a cosmetic change to the interface as well as support for AT&T Music's downloads and streaming from services such as eMusic or XM Satellite Radio's online division.
Samsung this morning unveiled the moviMCP, a multi-chip package that it says could spur the growth of music phones. The package is the first to combine multiple types of memory specifically geared towards cellphone use: alongside 128MB of RAM and 256MB of flash dedicated to core phone operations, the chipset includes 4GB of general flash storage for music, movies, and other data. This could virtually eliminate the need for the expansion slots found on many cellphones, according to Samsung. It would also drastically reduce the size of some devices by consolidating the external memory chips into one small chipset.
As expected, Apple today released iTunes 7.2 (Windows), an update to its popular music jukebox and video management software for both Mac and Windows. Available via the Mac OS X Software Update, the 29.2MB enables users to preview and purchase iTunes Plus music--new higher-quality, DRM-free music downloads from participating music labels--although the iTunes Store itself has not been updated with DRM-free music. The Cupertino-based company, which announced the deal with EMI in April, will allow users to upgrade their current music and Apple's help documentation notes that songs without DRM protection, called "iTunes Plus," have no usage restrictions and feature higher-quality encoding.
Microsoft has officially debuted "Surface," a new umbrella brand for computers that can recognize physical objects (via barcode scanning) and react to human touch. Eschewing mice and keyboards, the first Surface platform uses a 30" table-like screen that is meant for simultaneous multi-user input. "From digital finger painting to a virtual concierge, Surface brings natural interaction to the digital world in a new and exciting way," said Microsoft.
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