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The new Inspirons and XPS M1330 notebooks are real, Dell's Digital Media Manager Lionel Menchaca has confirmed in the official company blog. The executive broke with the company's typical policy of secrecy for unannounced hardware by validating the existence of the systems. No exact specifications were mentioned in the brief statement, but Menchaca acknowledged that an official announcement would occur in late June, coinciding with rumors of a June 26th launch.
Blockbuster today tipped the next-generation movie format battle in favor of Blu-Ray today by announcing that the format would be the only choice beyond regular DVD in its retail shops, dropping rival HD DVD from all but its online rental service. Choosing the format will also see the inclusion of the discs expand from a 250-store trial to as many as 1700 US-based shops. The move is said to be a direct response to rental figures: Blu-Ray is said to be "significantly outpacing" HD DVD in rentals and makes considerably more financial sense, Blockbuster says.
Novint today at last began shipping the Falcon, its anticipated 3D controller for PC gamers. Allowing for full 3D movement, the desktop device adds a unique tactile element that often has to go overlooked in gamepads, the company claims: textures, weight, and even the individual shapes of objects can be felt in a game to provide immediate feedback. The shipping version will also for some time include several games including sport titles such as basketball and table tennis that include code specially designed to take advantage of the Falcon's touch response.
Palm's hotly rumored "Gandolf" will be a larger release than expected, a new leak reveals through updated specs. The metal-accented smartphone should officially take its place in the Palm lineup as the Treo 500 series and will come in more than just the white, Windows Mobile 6 version shown in the past: a modified version of the Palm-created Garnet OS stripped of touchscreen support will provide an alternative for those who want different software. The budget emphasis also won't stop the handset from featuring the same 64MB of RAM as the more expensive Treo 700wx or 3G wireless Internet through HSDPA for those on GSM providers.
To support its new suite of mid-range phones, Nokia today also released three Bluetooth earpieces, including its first full-size stereo set for music fans. The BH-604 (shown) is said to give extended listening time thanks to large, padded ear cups and includes a set of stealth media keys for pausing and skipping through music as well as picking up calls for phones paired to the headset. Finland's handset producer expects to ship the headphones internationally during the summer in a rough price range of 120-140 Euros ($161-188).
Cellphone maker i-mate has veered away from its traditionally large smartphones with the introduction of the new JAMA, its most compact handset to date. The bar phone design is relatively thin at 0.6 inches and avoids a more unwieldy keypad by using a 2.4-inch touchscreen that handles both dialing as well as basic editing and messaging in the included Office Mobile suite. i-mate also takes care to support media capture and playback through a 2-megapixel camera and microSD storage for MP3/WAV/WMA songs as well as 3GPP, MPEG-4, and Windows Media videos.
Hitachi on Monday released a duo of LCD TVs for the sometimes overlooked small-screen crowd. The 20- and 23-inch H5 series include Hitachi's more recent display technology and are meant to serve HDTV at a native 720p resolution in nooks where larger sets are impractical. Each packs an HD tuner with a built-in program guide for previewing schedules on upcoming over-the-air broadcasts. Viewers can also plug in terrestrial cable HD and receive similarly sharp content from HDMI or (in Japanese form) D4 inputs. Analog video is provided through co-ax, RCA, and S-video jacks. A total of five watts of speaker power supplies sound.
Research in Motion's upcoming BlackBerry Pearl overhaul will be even more remarkable than expected, according to an insider with access to the design. Internally nicknamed the "Komet," the new Pearl 2 will remain slim but will back its Wi-Fi include a 3.2-megapixel camera with an improved flash; like the larger Curve, it should also include a full-sized 3.5mm headphone jack. RIM further intends major, music-oriented software changes with support for protected Windows Media music stores and a much enhanced voice recorder.
Dell this morning surprised the industry by launching one of its most advanced displays first in Japan. The 24-inch 2407WFP-HC uses the combination of an improved cold-cathode fluorescent backlight and an S-PVA panel to deliver 92 percent of the NTSC color gamut, creating a far better fit for artists and video editors who need color accuracy in a smaller size than the 3007WFP-HC released late last year, according to Dell. The Texas-based PC maker also claims a 1,000:1 static contrast ratio and 400cd/m2 brightness for the screen.
Canadians hoping to get the iPhone are likely to see a significant wait, according to cellular provider Rogers. Company CFO Bill Linton has recently confirmed at a conference that his employer was in talks with Apple to bring the device to Canada but that the iPhone creator wanted to focus first on establishing American success before shifting elsewhere, reserving its full contract negotiations for the aftermath of the June 29th release.
Epson this morning introduced the PowerLite S5, a new entry-level projector that the company says makes front-projection a real option for gamers and movie viewers as well as less exciting business meetings. A special game mode automatically ramps up brightness and contrast to keep the game world visible in less than ideal conditions: any user can manually tune the S5 up to a 2,000-lumen brightness and 400:1 contrast, according to Epson. Though using an 800x600 resolution to trim the price, the projector includes component and VGA inputs and will scale both 720p and 1080i HD video to its native format.
Silicon Valley's Wingspan today announced that users can now directly copy a DVD to an iPhone or iPod -- without using a computer. The company's iLoad device can transfer either an entire DVD or CD or the tracks of the user's choice as well as the album and track information directly to the iPod without using a computer, iTunes or Internet connection. Users simply plug the iPod into iLoad, insert a DVD or CD, and press the GO button. The company claims that copy speeds for CDs are typically eight minutes per CD--about five times faster than the actual CD playing time (and roughly the same as the average PC transfer). DVD transfers, Wingspan claims, are actually faster than using a computer or about 2.5 times the actual playing time. iLoad can delete music or video from an iPod as well back it up to an external USB or Flash drive and even copy content form iPod to iPod. The iLoad device is compatible with all USB iPods made since 2002, including the Shuffle, Nano, Video iPod and forthcoming iPhone. The DVD-to-iPod feature is a free upgrade to registered iLoad customers. iLoad is available for $300.
Samsung today revamped its MP3 player line with the U3, a sequel to its well-known U2 flash music player. The U3 is one of the largest-capacity players that can still plug directly into a USB port, synchronizing up to 4GB of MP3, OGG, or WMA tracks just by dragging and dropping files through the OS rather than custom software. Its diminutive size still manages 15 hours of battery life in part through a four-line OLED screen. FM radio tuning with RDS support for channel ID is supported as well as the by now obligatory voice recording for classes and meetings.
Microsoft this morning reincarnated its Internet TV efforts with Mediaroom, a new platform that hopes to involve users more in controlling the experience. The software now adds media sharing abilities that turn any supporting set-top box into an extender: nearby PCs can offer music and photos to the hub when live content isn't enough, Microsoft says. It also brings better web-based services for games and video, and takes advantage of its extra headroom to bring multiple videos onscreen; subscribers to a Mediaroom-based service can either preview other stations in a smaller window or watch different camera angles for the same sports event.
Bringing its satellite radio technology to new territory, XM on Monday launched a pair of receivers for cars and homes with their own distinctive features. The Audiovox-produced XpressR is the first satellite radio from any provider to bring split-screen controls: listeners can keep track of the current station while also viewing the listings for other stations in the menu, letting them either choose the station they really want or else backtrack to their current station if a favorite song begins to play. A half-hour memory buffer also helps replay missed segments, while 30 presets keep favorite channels ready for future occasions.
Ahead of the much publicized launch, Apple today revealed a surprise upgrade to the performance of the iPhone reaching stores. The device now claims a practical talk time of a full eight hours -- a major increase from the five-hour figure claimed for the device in January. Music playback has also been increased to an all-day 24 hours while Internet browsing and video playback have been extended to six and seven hours respectively. Standby time has been lengthened to 250 hours (over ten days), the company says. The firm points out that the final specifications make it one of the most capable devices in its field.
Sprint this morning marked the launch of the Mogul, its custom-labeled version of HTC's PPC6800. The new design improves dramatically on the already-offered PPC6700 and its slide-out QWERTY formula in hardware and software. The Mogul is Sprint's first device to support its faster EVDO Revision A network for real-world speeds up to 800Kbps downstream, but is also performs better by itself: built-in memory has been doubled to 256MB while battery life has been extended by 20 percent, Sprint says. The camera has been sharpened to 2-megapixels while the slider's top-mounted control pad now includes a thumbwheel for faster scrolling. As with the earlier model, Wi-Fi covers local Internet hotspots while Bluetooth addresses wireless peripherals.
California's Sling Media today took the wraps off the SlingLink TURBO, a solution for the company's own Slingboxes and other living room network devices. The adapter set can bring the Slingbox, consoles, and PVRs on to a powerline network when Ethernet cables are impractical or Wi-Fi is too complex; plugging the pair of included devices at each end puts any Ethernet-based device on an 85Mbps connection to a normal wired modem or router. The SlingLink also fits the HomePlug standard and can mix and match with other powerline network gear, the company adds.
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