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MicroNet has begun shipping an eSATA RAID array system with Mac OS X compatibility that is capable of handling up to 5TB in attached drive storage. The new Platinum RAID Pro is powered by a 64-bit Intel XScale processor to accelerate I/O throughput, is system independent and requires no drivers to be installed. By default, the unit ships with RAID 5 -- distributed parity -- enabled, meaning that a single drive failure will not result in data loss.
Data Robotics today announced that it has started shipping the Drobo, its unique intelligent data robot. In line with the company's original announcement, the device is the first to automatically create multi-drive backups without user intervention: sliding in a standard desktop hard drive automatically formats it and merges it into a single large partition; data can be shuffled just as automatically from one drive to another if a disk fails. Color-coded warnings near each drive bay will also warn when a drive runs low to give time for clearing files or upgrading one of the existing disks.
Although chiefly interested in backing Alienware's new Hangar18 PC, AMD today also showcased a new reference PC as part of its AMD LIVE! media center PC strategy. The Home Cinema reference design is built as a platform for third-party designers to customize for their own needs and highlights the media-savvy aspects of the AMD's hardware and software efforts. The receiver-sized box relies as little as possible on traditional controls and includes both its own LCD as well as front-face menu and track navigation controls; it also hides a slot-load optical drive for playing movies.
Ultramobile PC creator Amtek is developing its first full-keyboard UMPC, according to an announcement at this week's Computex show. The U560 will use a sliding-screen design similar to the VAIO UX that exposes a full keyboard underneath its 4.8-inch, 1024x600 screen. The handheld is also based on Intel's newer A100 platform and ekes out longer battery life than earlier UMPCs regardless of whether it uses the 600MHz or 800MHz processor; an extended battery pack will roughly double battery life for those less concerned about bulk or cost.
GM's offroading brand Hummer is on the verge of releasing a cellphone to complement its trucks, new photos and technical details show. The HT1 was designed by French firm ModeLabs to reflect Hummer's military-like style and comes in colors matching the company's most famous vehicles, including a camouflaged khaki green, sable (dark silver), and bright yellow. Despite its utilitarian looks, however, the slider handset also sports media-friendly luxuries, including a 2-megapixel camera, an FM radio, and a microSD slot for media storage. A 256MB card provides room for a handful of media without needing a replacement.
In addition to its Eee PC ultraportable, ASUS today has introduced its first dedicated sound card. The Xonar D2 is based on the newer AV200 processor and focuses quality across all channels: while its 118 decibel signal-to-noise ratio has been achievable on other sound cards in stereo, the optimum quality is possible for a full 7.1-channel surround sound and even during audio recording, ASUS claims.
Typically the source of hard disks for other companies, Hitachi today revealed that it has begun shipping the easy hard drive range, a series of external hard drives designed to be simple extensions of people's desktops; both the desktop and pictured notebook models come in a stylized black and red with preloaded backup software to streamline backups through a single button press. Reflecting its background, Hitachi stresses capacity: the desktop-class drive uses a single 1TB disk to store as many as 300,000 photos, while the notebook version offers the latest 250GB mobile drive without the need for an external power source.
Via's efforts at the Computex computer expo today have been headlined by the NanoBook ultra mobile device. While similar in spirit to the ASUS Eee PC in creating a full-fledged notebook with a 7-inch screen, the Via model includes a USB-based slot next to the display that can hold a companion device without creating extra bulk; Via suggests anything as basic as a world clock but as advanced as GPS units or 3G wireless adapters. The company also takes advantage of its expertise with mobile processors to optimize its 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage C7-M chip for as much as five hours of battery life versus the three of ASUS' rival.
General Dynamics on Tuesday became one of the first rugged PC makers to offer Intel Santa Rosa in a notebook by releasing the GoBook VR-2. The notebook packs a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with the faster system bus, improved graphics, and 802.11n, but also features a uniquely survivable design meant as much for use in the field as in an office. Key to this is a new display technique called DynaVue, the company says: instead of simply increasing the brightness of the 13.3-inch touchscreen, the process cuts out reflections within the LCD itself and boosts contrast ratio to render the image visible even in bright daylight. The VR-2 also meets military-spec resistance to dust, shock, and humidity, and has a spill-proof keyboard.
Apple's forthcoming iPhone will likely result in the significant adoption of capacitive touch screen technology in future cellular phones, according to component manufacturer Synaptics. Apple's handset uses capacitive touch screen technology to help achieve the "revolutionary" user interface touted by company CEO Steve Jobs, which Synaptics believes will provide a big market boost to such technology moving forward. The manufacturer predicts that almost 25 percent of handsets will offer built-in capacitive touch screens by 2009, and points to forthcoming notebooks from Dell, HP, and Toshiba that will make use of capacitive touch screen technology in the second half of this year, according to DigiTimes.
The European Commission has extended its deadline for Apple to respond to antitrust concerns over the iTunes Store, which center around restrictions that bar iTunes customers from purchasing tracks offered to countries other than the one they are connecting from. Thosee restrictions result in price differentials between intra-eurozone and extra-eurozone, which equate to more costly tracks for some European iTunes customers compared to other nearby countries. The original deadline -- with which Apple failed to comply -- set by the EU was midnight on June 4th, but today that deadline was pushed back to June 20th, according to Thomson Financial. Apple in early April denied that it violated European Union laws regarding the pricing of songs on its iTunes Store, saying that the company would continue to work with the EU to resolve the matter.
ASUS at Computex on Tuesday launched a fresh take on ultramobile PCs with the Eee PC. Although sharing the 7-inch screen of many handhelds, the Eee adopts the familiar notebook shape and includes a keyboard and trackpad. The emphasis is on ease of use -- not just portability, ASUS says. To that end, the portable splits its interface into simple and complex modes: the easy mode includes a basic interface for browsing, chat, and photos, while more comfortable users can switch to a familiar operating system such as Linux or Windows XP. Load times are kept quick through the use of a flash drive with as little as 4GB or as much as 16GB of storage; the choice has the side benefit of reducing weight to just under two pounds.
AT&T is launching an intense campaign to improve the quality of its cellular Internet speeds for the iPhone, claims an AT&T operations worker with access to internal documents. Nicknamed "Operation Fine Edge," a plan has reportedly been in progress for several weeks which is optimizing the company's EDGE mobile Internet access specifically to help Apple's upcoming device. The effort will retune many of the carrier's cell towers to place a greater priority on Internet access. In some cases, poorer towers are also receiving extra T1 network lines to prevent network congestion and ensure better minimum quality for the network. Customers should expect minimum speeds to double from 40Kbps to 80Kbps, the documents say.
TomTom began Tuesday by launching a new model in its GO line. The 4.3-inch GO 720 is the first GPS mapping unit from the company to focus on collaboration and customization through a new feature dubbed TomTom Map Share. Unlike most receivers, whose maps depend on updates solely from one company, the 720's map information can be altered by the drivers themselves: similar to Wikipedia, owners can note when a street name changes or construction blocks a route; the changes can either be limited to just individual units but can also be shared with other drivers, providing advance warnings for those who aren't already familiar with a given area. Owners can even personalize their voice navigation by having friends or family record audio for individual routes.
Toshiba today launched its second notebook, the Tecra M8. Officially the first 13.3-inch widescreen notebook from the company, the system is meant to bridge the difference between ultraportables and mid-range notebooks with a 4.5-pound weight. It also serves as one of the company's earliest examples of Santa Rosa-class performance, using Intel's technology to offer a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo on an 800MHz bus, better X3100 integrated video, and 802.11n. Still rare among most other Santa Rosa notebooks is the use of a flash-based Turbo Memory cache to speed load times.
Alienware this morning launched the Hangar18, the company's first self-proclaimed HD Entertainment Center. The system is based on AMD's LIVE! media center platform and uses Athlon 64 X2 processors to provide an immediate responsiveness for Vista Home Premium's interface and better synchronization with peripherals; it also helps guarantee 720p HD video with basic integrated graphics and as much as 1080p when using NVIDIA dedicated graphics and the PC's built-in HDMI output. Unique to the Hangar18 is a built-in, high power amplifier: each channel can receive as much as 200W of power, bypassing the need for a separate device to help power a larger sound system.
HTC today unveiled the Touch, a new smartphone directly aimed at the iPhone's audience. Previously known as the Elf, the Touch earns its name through its natural input: owners control calls, media playback, and programs solely through the 2.8-inch touchscreen. Also similar to the Apple device is an intuitive navigation method that lets users swipe through media libraries and provides scrolling for web pages or documents. HTC's phone, however, relies on Windows Mobile 6 Professional and includes Office Mobile for bulit-in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word editing.
Toshiba used Taiwan's Computex expo today to unveil the Portégé R500, calling it one of the most portable complete notebooks ever. The system is one of the slimmest ever to include an optical drive, measuring 0.77 inches at its thinnest due to an ultra-thin DVD rewriter and improvements in trimming down the internal components; this comes without compromising strength, Toshiba says. The company also notes that the use of a 64GB solid-state hard drive option -- also a first for notebooks -- brings the weight down to as little as 1.86 pounds with every feature intact. The 12-inch widescreen further represents a breakthrough by using a transreflective LCD whose backlight can be switched off outdoors to use natural light and extend battery life to as long as 12.5 hours.
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