Responding to complaints and its own research into the high Xbox 360 failure rate, Microsoft today has expanded its warranty to address specific problems reported by users. Those whose systems fail with three red lights -- also known as the "red ring of death" -- can contact Microsoft for a free replacement up to three years from the day they purchased their consoles. Gamers who have paid for repairs in the past can also seek out refunds, Microsoft says.
The French branch of European carrier Orange today rolled out the SPV C200. Standing in contrast to premium devices, the C200 is intended for bringing smartphone-class features to a lower price. Its candybar design offers only a keypad and joystick (rather than a keyboard) for control but is preloaded with Windows Mobile 5 for better Internet access and document viewing than the custom programs that often come with more limited handsets.
The American virtual carrier Helio today announced that it had added YouTube Mobile, its own adaptation of the web video service. Like Apple's iPhone client, the Helio version includes a custom program for searching and playing videos and plays re-encoded versions of the clips in full-screen rather than the normal Flash versions. The use of an EVDO-based 3G wireless network gives the phone an advantage, the company says. Subscribers with a YouTube Mobile profile can record and upload clips through a Helio Album that are automatically posted to the Google-run website.
Pushing the increasing trend of more compact surround-sound systems, Denon has released the DHT-FS3 X-SPACE, a bar speaker meant to do away with the need for satellites. It does this by incorporating six drivers and seven amplifiers, with separation coming from signal aim and DSP simulation. It can supply 150W of sound, and is intended mainly for connection to DVD players and satellite receivers.
Not all of the supported codecs have been published; one of the known formats however is Dolby Pro Logic II. Denon states that it plans to release an add-on for the unit in September, which will allow audio from Wi-Fi sources such as Internet radio. The price of the FS3 is £700 ($1,412). [via Tech Digest]
The NBA today revealed that it will capitalize on the popularity of its sport in China by releasing a custom-branded phone. Dubbed the N111, the handset will stress the theme with basketball imagery on front and back, including a texture similar to the ball itself. Variants on the phone will even come in different colors for favorite teams, the organization says. Every phone will ship with related games and the ability to keep track of a team's playing schedule and other details through WAP browsing.
The upcoming iCast Autoscan FM Transmitter by iStuff broadcasts audio from media players to nearby FM radios; its unique trait, however, is that it can be set to scan for the clearest frequencies in an area, which if selected, should reduce audio interference. Up to four frequencies can be saved in memory for quick selection. The Autoscan is also notable in that while it is designed for iPods, it can be used with any device that includes a standard headphone jack. Power is supplied through either a 12V car outlet or a single AAA battery. The transmitter should begin shipping on July 16th for £30 ($60).
Dell's move to sell at retail is going global, the company revealed today. While the system builder has only just broken its longstanding tradition of direct-only sales by offering PCs at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club in the US, it now hopes to sell its systems in retail stores across Asia, including Dell's local headquarters in Singapore as well as several other countries. The decision was spurred on in part by stronger-than-average sales in the area, Dell says. Examples from both the low- and high-end of the company's Inspiron desktops and 1x20 notebooks will be available.
Verizon on Thursday kicked off the launch of its new Chocolate phone by introducing a new designer wrist case. The Dooney & Burke Limited Edition wristlet is tailored for women who want to bring just a phone and other essentials with them on a short trip. Its main compartments holds the phone itself with a soft lining that avoids scratches; a side pouch holds basics, such as cards or the earbuds likely to accompany a music phone such as LG's model. Owners can also detach the wrist strap for stuffing the case into a larger bag.
Vertu today inadvertently revealed that a first true successor to its Ascent luxury phone is in the works. A just-published FCC filing reveals that the new device, simply named the Ascent Ti, will show changes both inside and out. The phone will gain its first camera at 3 megapixels and will gain UMTS mobile Internet access for when the phone is used in Europe. The design should also revolve around a more ergonomic grip with a ridged titanium shell that inspires the device's name. Sapphire, scratchproof coating on the LCD as well as gold trim are features inherited from earlier Vertu models.
Apple plans to add Adobe Flash support on the iPhone relatively quickly, says Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal. The technology columnist reports that Apple already expects to release a software update for the phone in the near future that will deliver at least part of the functionality through Safari, permitting the many web-based video sites and other pages that use Flash for animation or interfaces to display properly. No timeframe has been given, but the fix could occur within "a couple of months," Mossberg estimates.
The Recording Industry Association of America, notorious for its attempts to clamp down on music downloads, has suffered another legal setback. The organization faces a counter-suit from Rhonda Crain, who was initially accused of illegal fire sharing, and expected to pay $4,500 in her dispute. Crain is, however, a Texan grandmother, who claims she had never heard of file sharing before she was threatened.
The newly-expanded Crain lawsuit alleges that the RIAA not only falsely accused her, but "illegally employed unlicensed investigators in the State of Texas," the filing reads, "and used the information thereby obtained to file this and other similar actions across the country."
The Nokia N95 should see a sequel with enough storage to tackle the iPhone, says an unintentional leak by the Finnish company itself. An XML file for the phone's web browser user agent has shown up on Nokia's website that points to an N95 with 8GB of internal storage, far more than the 160MB built into today's version and placing it in direct contention with Apple's device. But the device may be a significant redesign or even a new N-series phone altogether, according to reports.
The Japanese company Corega is near launching the CG-IPSPDC02, a new portable iPod speaker. Unlike so many products the 02 is designed exclusively for the second-generation shuffle, which slots into an inline dock. Apple's design is also echoed in the rounded edges of the speaker, as well as its color, with different versions of the speaker being available for each shuffle variant. A USB port allows synching and charging with a computer; the satellites produce 0.5W per channel. Corega will begin shipping the 02 later in July for 3,675 yen ($30). [via Fareastgizmos]
Apple today was shown to have filed a US patent that may point towards the future of its desktop mice. Originally submitted in March 2006, the patent would use a variant of the multi-touch concept behind the iPhone and apply it to a hand controller. An optical sensor built inside the mouse would map the surface and recognize contact from the user's hand based on changes in the image. Information would then be translated to a flat grid in software that the computer can use to recognize the user's intent, the patent says.
The Korean company Odd-i is preparing to ship the P480, a fairly robust media player. It runs a version of Windows CE, and aside from playing various music and video files, it can also tune in DMB digital broadcasts. An e-dictionary allows quick translations, and in a rare feat, it also serves as a portable GPS unit. An analog stick allows quick control, while file transfer is done through an SD slot. The P480 should ship to Korea later this month in 30 or 60GB versions, though prices are unknown. [via Akihabara News]
Verizon today made official the launch of the VX8550, better known as an update to the Chocolate. The revamped version changes the style slightly but also changes the control scheme. Replacing the directional pad is an iPod-like metallic scroll wheel that allows for quicker navigation through the media player as well as in some phone menus; the keypad is also touch-sensitive and includes vibration response, Verizon says. Storage has also been upgraded to handle microSD cards as large as 4GB and theoretically allows up to 1,000 songs to be swapped in and out of the phone.
Growing its GPS line by one, V7 has introduced the NAV720, an expanded version of the NAV700. The new version adds a built-in Bluetooth transmitter for hands-free phone calls and supports Traffic Messaging Channel adapters for live road condition updates; the 400MHz processor is also quick enough to handle MPEG-4 videos as well as other extras, such as MP3 playback and games for the passenger.
Sanyo this morning launched a new in-dash GPS receiver for drivers who need their in-car system as their primary entertainment. The HD1700DT not only tunes 1Seg-formatted digital TV broadcasts on its 7-inch screen but includes measures to keep watching, according to the company. The tuner adjusts to improve reception as the car transitions from one broadcast tower to another; those who want to watch shows outside of the car can burn them to rewritable DVDs for use with a home DVD player or the car itself.
Cellphone carrier O2 may have beaten all others to win a contract for the iPhone in the UK, says country's Times. The paper claims that the European provider has been willing to accept terms similar to those for the AT&T deal in the US, including a revenue-sharing system where Apple sees a portion of the subscription costs and an initial price of £300 ($605). O2 would also have to change its network to adopt the Visual Voicemail system, the Times alleges. Carphone Warehouse and other third-party resellers would only get an opportunity to sell the phone after an exclusive run.
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