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A few details of the flash-based Zune have surfaced, a claimed insider within Microsoft has said. The smaller, skip-proof player is reportedly codenamed "Draco" and will share all the features of the hard disk version despite the size reduction, including the Zune's characteristic Wi-Fi music sharing and video playback -- both of which are omitted in its current rival, the second-generation iPod nano. Capacities should also be similar to its competition with 4GB and 8GB of storage, the source says.
Roughly 40 percent of those signed up for AT&T's notification list for the iPhone use outside carriers, the provider's CEO Randall Stephenson told a gathering at the NXTcomm conference on Tuesday. While the company head declined to break down which carriers were seeing the greatest amount of potential converts, he noted that the statistics were very promising for AT&T. They could represent a significant increase in marketshare, he said. The US release of the iPhone will officially require AT&T service for the next few years, forcing customers of opponents such as T-Mobile and Verizon to wait until contracts expire or else pay cancellation fees if they want to switch to the device.
Sony today launched a full eight LCD front projectors that target meetings and other small environments. Topping the list is the C-series and its flagship CW125, according to Sony. The 3-LCD unit challenges Sanyo's new WXU10 as one of the few in the class to run at a native WXGA (1280x800) resolution that suits widescreen notebooks and 720p HD footage; in contrast to the Sanyo, however, the CW125 is brighter at 3,000 lumens and can be controlled through a web browser when attached to a local network. Other models in the C-series run at XGA (1024x768) and range in brightness from 2,700 to 3,500 lumens; three models (CW125, CX155, and CX125) share the networking feature while three more (CX100, CX120, CX150) all use Sony's Remote Commander for steering multiple projectors through one remote.
Details of the as-yet unannounced M610i by Sony Ericsson continue to emerge. Previously submitted for FCC approval under the codename "Lizy," it has made yet another appearance at the organization, now under the codename "Elena." Little has changed; the phone is still identified as having Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and should also have UMTS broadband, along with standard tri-band GSM services. Unwired View does cite rumors, however, that the phone will have a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 2.6-inch QVGA screen, and 160MB of memory, which is 100MB more than the M600i.
Microsoft today unveiled a new wireless desktop combo that focuses on comfort for those who use their PCs for long stretches. The Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 bundles the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 and the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 into a single pack that the company hopes will reduce strain. The keyboard's gull-wing design brings fingers closer to the individual keys while also including programmable keys that save work when checking mail or the web; the mouse brings precise laser tracking as well as a grip that shifts pressure away from muscles that cause carpal tunnel syndrome, according to Microsoft.
Complementing the earlier announcement of the WXU10, Sanyo has also announced a pair of projectors designed for truly large gatherings. Heading the news is the pictured XF47: a combination of four 330W lamps produces an unheard-of 15,000 lumens, putting out enough brightness that images as large as 600 inches across will display clearly, Sanyo says. The system is also the first from the company to include a wireless video transmission system that can play 720p or 1080i HD video from up to 100 feet away with virtually no lag. Images are scaled to fit a 1024x768 resolution and come from either DVI or VGA, five sets of component and RCA inputs, or S-video.
Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against Immersion, the makers of force-feedback technology used in numerous game controllers. The issue stems back to a suit filed by Immersion in 2002, which accused both Microsoft and Sony of infringing patents; Microsoft settled for $26 million in 2003, but the Sony suit carried on, until the company agreed to a settlement with Immersion earlier this year.
Microsoft alleges that under a sublicense agreement, it is owed part of the restitution: $15 million for the first $100 million from Sony, plus 25 percent between the $100 and $150 million marks, and 17.5 percent of anything over $150 million. Immersion denies that it owes anything to Microsoft, and says that it intends to fight the lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Samsung at a special event today unveiled some of its fastest and largest-capacity drives to date. The SpinPoint N2 is now the world's highest-capacity 1.8-inch hard drive and provides as much as 120GB of storage in a form suitable for portable media players such as the iPod as well as camcorders and other handhelds. Its 4200RPM speed is also quick enough to handle the demands of ultraportable notebooks, Samsung says. The drive also incorporates 8MB of cache and will run from completely idle to ready in two seconds. Unlike many of these drives, the N2 is available as a stand-alone drive for regular users and ships now for $249.
Gefen Inc. has launched a wireless USB 2.0 extender based on the ExtremeUSB technology, which makes it possible to interface with USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices up to 100 feet from the computer. The 802.11g-based adapter works with Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, and consists of a wireless transponder that plugs into one of the host system's USB ports and a four-port USB hub that can be placed within normal WiFI range and serve connected USB devices. Hagai Gefen, president and CEO of Gefen says "Subsequent versions will also support multiple receiver hubs connected to one sender unit, allowing a same time distribution that delivers data real-time with no cables."
While analysts remain generally upbeat regarding the prospects for Apple's iPhone, some are beginning to posit some questions about price, battery life, and keyboard functionality as the launch date enters a two-week frame. Shaw Wu with American Technology research thinks that the keyboard will be one of the biggest points of contention for early adopters of the device. Saying that the keyboard will "likely require a learning curve for most users,' Wu reports in a research note that he is not overly concerned believe users will likely spend the majority of their time on navigation-type tasks, i.e. scrolling through menus, surfing the web, etc. Wu also points out that iPhone's firmware and software will be easy to upgrade in the case of user distaste.
Toshiba today announced that it will be one of the first PC makers to include HD DVD as an option for many of its mainstream notebooks, rather than limiting it to exotic models. The current Satellite P205 as well as the as-yet unannounced X205 and 15.4-inch Qosmio F45 (likely based on the Japanese F40W) will all have the option of HD DVD readers which can burn to CD and DVD. The company also confirmed once again that its upcoming Qosmio G45 will be the first to include native HD DVD-R burning to write up to 30GB to a single disc. The Qosmios and the X205 will also have HDMI output for displaying video on a TV at 1080p and 1080i respectively, Toshiba says.
JVC this morning revealed a new breakthrough for its D-ILA projection technology that could make greater-than-HD video a reality in home theater. A smaller 6.8-micron pixel pitch and a smaller 0.25-micron gap lets the Japanese firm create a chip less than 1.3 inches across that can still deliver a full 4096x2400 resolution -- offering 4K resolution at a physical size small enough for projectors beyond the industrial-scale units often seen today. The use of new liquid crystals also cuts out wasted light and delivers an exceptional 20,000:1 contrast ratio, according to JVC.
For the first time, Alienware today chose to break away from its complete-system approach and has released the P2 barebones kit. The design includes the familiar alien-themed P2 extended ATX casing but guts the internal computer components so that experienced hobbyists can buy and install the parts themselves; only a 700W power supply, front Firewire and USB ports, and blue-tinted LED case lights remain from the pre-assembled system. The case has tool-free access and the airflow design needed to cool hot CPUs and video cards, Alienware says.
AT&T today officially launched its Video Share service, representing the first time its subscribers can stream live video from their phones courtesy of a 3G Internet connection. The service is currently limited to one-way video calls with two-way voice but allows for features that would have been previously impossible with the carrier's network, such as showing a family event in real-time or asking for advice. Certain devices also include front or swivel cameras that allow for self-portraits.
Sanyo this morning targeted its LCD projectors at two ends of the spectrum with models that should work both at home and at work. The 7.7-pound WXU10 (shown) is one of the few portable projectors to display at a native 1280x800 resolution -- making it one of the few that both matches the displays of many recent widescreen notebooks and an ideal fit for 720p HD video. To that end, the projector sports DVI and VGA for computers as well as component for analog HD and RCA/S-video for lower-resolution sources. Though officially made for meeting rooms with a 3-25 foot throw and instant on/off, the projector and its 2,000-lumen brightness are useful for movies and games, Sanyo claims.
Viewsonic on Tuesday ramped up the quality of its smaller LCD TVs by introducing the 35-series, a new collection of screens that offer stronger image quality without the associated price. The 26-inch N2635W, 32-inch N3235W, and 37-inch N3735W are all capable of higher than 720p resolution and are relatively bright and fast for the size with a 500-nit brightness and an 8ms pixel response time. Chin-mounted 20W stereo speakers also provide relatively strong sound for setups where external speakers aren't an option, and PC video input is standard for an easier hookup with media center computers.
Samsung today used the CommunicAsia expo in Singapore to launch three new phones designed as much for style as for their technical performance. The E840 (pictured, right) is the thinnest slider phone yet at 0.42 inches and comes with both a tempered, mirror glass facing as well as the choice of colors such as Topaz Gold or Noble Blue. In spite of its size, however, the slider includes a 2-megapixel camera, an external microSD slot to back its 70MB of internal memory, and MPEG-4 video capture as well as playback. AAC, MP3, and WMA (including protected WMA) audio is supported by an FM radio and Bang & Olufsen's IcePower audio enhancement technology. The E840 ships now in southeast Asia but may see its way to the US courtesy of quad-band GSM that helps with roaming American networks.
Swarmcast's Autobahn Accelerator for iTunes is a free utility that allows customers to accelerate downloads of music and video from Apple's industry-leading iTunes application. As the first in a series of free applications developed specifically to speed the download of video content from popular video sites, Autobahn Accelerator runs in the background every time music or videos are downloaded from iTunes; it is currently available for users with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and 32-bit Vista, running Internet Explorer 6 and 7, as well as Firefox. The company said a Mac version is in development and will be available soon, but gave no release date.
Aliph's Jawbone Bluetooth headset will accompany the iPhone at its June 29th launch, the company announced today. The $120 device will sell at the Apple Store online as well all of Apple's retail outlets and should offer a relative premium option for hands-free calls thanks in part to a unique noise canceling system that recognizes speech and boosts voice volume while also filtering out background noises. Black, red, and silver versions will be in stock, Aliph says. The company already sells its headset through AT&T's stores.
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