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Following this week's deal with Apple to bring iTunes to its social network, Bebo today announced its partnership with Audible Magic, a provider of content recognition technology designed to ensure all artists and the half million bands on Bebo have complete control over their music. Using Audible Magic's content identification and digital fingerprinting technology, Bebo aims to instantly identify unauthorized copyrighted content and remove it from its site. "Bebo Music was established to enable people to build direct relationships with the artists they love, and to enable these artists to make money from their art," said Michael Birch, CEO & founder, Bebo. "With Audible Magic we ensure that artists and the labels that represent them are the only ones who decide which songs they give away for free and which not."
European cell carrier O2 today held a special event to reveal the Cocoon, its aggressive step into music phones. The phone earns its name through an all-white and completely rounded shell which hides extra features: LEDs underneath the outer lid light up for incoming calls and also serve as a unique display for the phone's exclusive clock radio feature, which is switched on by plugging the Cocoon into its custom dock. Music is supported even further by dedicated side controls, 2GB of built-in flash with microSD card expansion, and a native 3.5mm headphone jack for plugging in any set of headphones or desktop speakers.
Quickly following up on its teaser, Archos today launched a sweeping update to its media players with the Generation 5 series. Headlining the updates is the fully-unveiled 605 WiFi. Unlike the outgoing 604, the fifth iteration packs a crisper 800x480, 4.3-inch touch LCD to help play H.264, MPEG-2/4, and WMV clips at DVD resolution for up to 5.5 hours as well as to browse the web through an Opera browser. The 605 docks with a DVR attachment that lets it record NTSC-resolution TV or audio, and plays back AAC/MP3/WAV/WMA tracks for up to 17 hours.
Countering a slew of new phone announcements from Sony-Ericsson, Motorola has launched the Deluxe ic902 with Sprint. The new phone follows up on the ic502, offering walkie-talkie capabilities but adding access to Power Vision services through Sprint's EVDO network, a 2-megapixel camera, and an MP3 player with a 128MB microSD card included. The phone also sports Bluetooth stereo capabilities for wireless headphones and speakers. As one of the carrier's most advanced PowerSource phones, it runs on the iDEN network for walkie-talkie access but also includes CDMA phone calling with EVDO Internet access. The ic902 the first such device in its class to offer access to Power Vision streaming audio and video, Sprint says. GPS support is integrated and helps navigate using the TeleNav system.
Rounding out a series of announcements on Thursday from Sony-Ericsson are two stylized fashion phones. The Z320 and Z250 both focus on basic camera phone photography with 1.3-megapixel and VGA-resolution cameras respectively with one-button access. Both are also consciously retro and include dotted icon displays that light up to indicate new calls and messages. Battery life is long despite the budget focus with average talk time rated at seven hours, according to estimates.
More Sony-Ericsson phones have been launched late on Tuesday that rest at the very high-end of the company's music-minded Walkman range and will represent the company's main challengers to the iPhone. The pictured W910i slider is the first Walkman to include HSDPA -- absent from the Apple offering -- and specifically supports US networks such as AT&T to provide high-speed access for streaming audio, uploading images and videos from its 2-megapixel rear camera, or video chats through its smaller front camera. It also debuts a new Shake control mode that can switch music tracks or steer games by moving the phone itself. A 1GB Memory Stick Micro card is packed with the phone as is a copy of the Media Manager PC software found with the K850.
Sony-Ericsson tonight held a special press event in Berlin that launched several new phones, including multiple devices that will reach the US. The K850i (shown) is a long-awaited sequel to the popular K790/K800 that establishes a number of firsts for the company. At 5 megapixels, the onboard camera is Sony-Ericsson's sharpest to date and features both auto-focus as well as a xenon flash to focus in darker rooms. The bar phone is also one of Sony-Ericsson's first phones with 3G wireless through HSDPA and has the raw Internet speed needed to upload full-resolution photos as well as make video calls (when supported) through a smaller front-facing camera.
Sony-Ericsson today revealed the MBW-150, the latest in its recent watch line that pairs with most Bluetooth phones to ease call handling and music. In line with the Fossil-branded MBW-100 released last fall, the three new designs include a vibration alert and a a small OLED display that provide caller ID and notices of SMS texts; a quick button press can accept or dismiss voice calls. Owners of Walkman phones or other Bluetooth music phones also get basic track navigation so they can listen without fishing the phone out of a pocket.
Archos is about to announce its next-generation line, according to a teaser posted at its main website with an indefinite countdown. Although officially vague, recent details show that the company plans to revise most of its models all at once to include additional storage options and will likely include extras beyond those revealed in leaks. The Archos 605 (pictured) will lead the designs with integrated Wi-Fi and either 4GB of flash or varying sizes of hard drive up to 160GB with a new SDHC card slot supporting as much as 32GB of extra space; both will reportedly share a 4.3-inch touchscreen.
Apple has reportedly cancelled at least one Personal Shopping appointment for June 29th -- the chosen date that its highly-anticipted iPhone is scheduled to hit shelves at 6:00 p.m. local time. A ZDNet blogger who made a Personal Shopping appointment on what AT&T is predicting to be the largest commercial product launch in the history of electronics received a phone call from the local Apple store to reschedule his appointment, following earlier personalized email notifications confirming the appointment.
Omnifone today announced that its new mobile music service MusicStation service is now live, representing one of the first unlimited online music stores available through cellphones. As the company first revealed in its 3GSM unveiling, the now active service directly challenges both the iPhone and its iTunes Store companion by offering a universal player and a flat-rate store. Its software layers runs on top of virtually any music phone and bases its entire structure on an unlimited weekly subscription model. The approach allows any music phone to keep relevant music in rotation as long as the device is within coverage of an EDGE (2.5G) or HSDPA (3G) mobile Internet connection, according to the company: as many phones don't have enough storage to hold the user's entire library, the service will automatically cache as many favorites as possible and download the next track in sequence to effectively produce an unlimited library which still holds music when the phone wanders outside of service.
Cowon this morning overhauled one of its most popular players. The iAudio 7 adopts the same form as the earlier version 6 but switches from a micro hard drive to flash. This not only makes the system virtually skip-proof but triples battery life to a virtually unmatched 60 hours of continuous music. Format support is also as broad with AAC, FLAC, and OGG joining the more traditional MP3/WMA/WAV audio support. Owners can even watch some XviD-encoded videos on the 1.3-inch LCD, Cowon says. Similar to most devices of its kind, the iAudio 7 also packs FM radio tuning and voice recording.
Promising a revolution, Kodak on Thursday revealed a new sensor technology from its camera labs that could dramatically improve the quality of digital camera shots. The development extends the Bayer Pattern that forms the basis of virtually all camera sensors today to include panchromatic pixels that accept all colors in addition to the blue-, green-, and red-only pixels of the past. Software interprets the neutral light to produce the expected image. All the extra light results in as much as two to four times the same amount of light entering the camera as with traditional digital cameras, Kodak says; the difference amounts to one or two full F-stops in traditional photography terms.
Premium home theater builders Bang & Olufsen today launched the BeoVision 7, a 40-inch LCD designed to minimize the number of extra components for a full home theater. The 1080p-native display incorporates a DVD player as with some mainstream sets, but also includes its own 7.1-channel surround sound decoder and a center-channel speaker that can be had in one of two models depending on the audio environment. A basic BeoLab 7-2 speaker provides stereo for smaller areas; the vertical BeoLab 7-4 in turn is meant to fit into a larger surround setup and provides added treble to dialog and other sounds unlikely to remain exclusively in side channels.
Samsung today unveiled what should be not just the company's largest production LCD TV but also its highest-quality model to date. The as-yet unnamed 70-inch LCD achieves an unprecedented 500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio through a particularly advanced LED backlighting system, the company says. Hundreds of individual LED backlights not only provide a far more evenly distributed backlight than cold cathodes but also selectively dim depending on the on-screen activity, creating truer black levels than would be possible for the older technology. The LEDs can also 'scan' the image by rapidly shutting down in sequence and from there eliminate the flickering or ghosting effects that occur only on particularly large sets, Samsung claims.
Diamond today became the first card maker to launch a 1GB version of AMD's newest Viper Radeon HD 2900 XT 1GB doubles the 512MB memory of the reference card while also speeding its clock rates: the 1.1GHz of graphics-oriented GDDR4 memory sends more information per cycle, while the 825MHz core also speeds up general performance compared to the 740MHz of the original. This makes it the fastest video card available today, Diamond claims. Other features, such as the wide 512-bit bus and support for up to 24X antialiasing, carry forward from the 512MB edition.
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