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Microsoft has put in motion a patent that would let it enhance the Wi-Fi features of the Zune in a way that could please both music producers and Zune players, according to a newly published filing. The technique describes creating what would amount to an "off-line economy" where users would be able to buy tracks before they get within range of an Internet connection, the patent notes. Tracks could be sent from one player to another flagged with their purchase values; synchronizing the player with a PC would immediately transmit the information to an online store, which would approve the track for permanent use and charge the recipient for the value of the content in question.
Fujifilm has upgraded its FinePix line with the IS Pro, a special take on the S5 Pro cameras for those who need images outside of normally visible conditions. An enhanced CCD sensor and image processor combine with IR and UV filters to capture images outside of viewable light; to ensure that the intended image is the right one, the live LCD preview now includes a high contrast black-and-white mode while the sensor has a special protective glass filter to guard against dust and damage during cleaning.
Not to outdone by yesterday's launch of the MX Air, Gyration has unveiled its Ultra R4000 remote. While immediately useful as hybrid IR/RF universal remote for stereos, TVs, and Windows Media Center PCs, the large remote doubles as a mouse and direct music browser for Windows as a whole. Moving the remote itself steers the onscreen pointer and responds to traditional left- and right-clicks, while an LCD and dedicated navigation buttons will let PC users select from and play tracks from a PC even when the TV is switched off.
Whether or not Sony will end production of the PS3 is now uncertain, say conflicting reports from Sony itself. While the PlayStation division's European spokesman David Reeves had previously claimed that the now $499 console would cease sales by the end of July, an unnamed spokesman for the American branch now says this report has been misinterpreted and that there are no short-term plans to cancel the system, which is now selling far more quickly than in recent months.
ASUS has broken the traditional approach to gamer-friendly mainboards and revealed a new version of the P5K3 Premium. The Intel-based board overcomes some of the more common bottlenecks to overclocking by embedding memory directly into the board itself; 2GB of 1,333MHz, DDR3 RAM avoids the serial nature of RAM slots and talks to each chip individually, cutting the timing in half and allowing those with the right knowledge to boost RAM clock rates above 1,500MHz. Using Intel's P35 Express chipset also future-proofs the system with support for both today's Core 2 Duo/Quad processors and upcoming 45-nanometer Penryn chips.
Ricoh has joined in the series of camera launches this week with the introduction of the Caplio RR750, a straightforward 7.1-megapixel camera for beginners and travelers. The point-and-shoot model receives six scene presets placed directly on the mode dial as well as improved ISO sensitivity for darker or faster-paced shots. It also carries 32MB of built-in flash memory that provides free space for owners who misplace an SD memory card.
Netropa has escalated its efforts to win the GPS business by launching the IntelliNav 3, part of a new line of mapping devices from the company for 2007. The 3.5-inch touchscreen unit represents much of the line and focuses around an exceptionally large map database: where most GPS units ship with 1GB or less of information, the 3-series ships with a 2GB SD card loaded with 6 million points of interest in over 100 categories. The space also touches on regions rarely covered by most GPS units, expanding outside of the continental US and Canada to cover Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Free room on the card allows MP3 music and photos for longer trips.
Freecom today expanded the concept of Internet-connected stereos with the MusicPal. Capable of playing MP3 and WAV tracks either stored on a nearby PC or streaming through an Internet radio station, the device also incorporates RSS feed support: owners can catch up on news, personal blogs, or other sites that push out live updates through the subscription model. RSS can run along the bottom of the screen while track data for music remains up top, Freecom says. Internet access is provided wirelessly through 802.11g or through Ethernet for those with free ports. An alarm clock function lets owners wake up to their choice of music.
Although approved by the FCC back in April, the SCH-i760 by Samsung has only just made an appearance at Verizon Wireless. Its presence is somewhat premature, as there is no actual product site, only a view window. The phone is known to run Windows Mobile 6, and claims features such as Wi-Fi, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a 1.3-megapixel still/video camera. Business users can access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, while for entertainment, only MP3 playback is confirmed. [via SlashPhone]
The upcoming BODiBEAT by Yamaha is poised to challenge the current popularity of the Nike+iPod kit with runners and walkers. While the BODiBEAT holds only 512MB of music, because it comes on a wristband, it eliminates the need for a separate holder; likewise, there is no need for special shoes or sensors, since the player has its own accelerometer. This and a pulse monitor connected to the headphones provide another function: as a runner's speed increases, so does the speed of the music. Beat loops help segue one track into another. The battery life of the player is 12 hours; Yamaha expects the BODiBEAT to ship this summer. [via Anything But iPod]
Intel today announced that it will join the One Laptop Per Child project, ending a recent but increasingly difficult feud with its MIT-born rival. The chipmaker has joined the board of directors for OLPC efforts and said it will collaborate to help create future versions of the sub-$200 student PC, which could include Intel hardware as well as educational content for the machines. Current versions of the OLPC use AMD's 433MHz Geode processor and have frequently come into conflict with Intel's Classmate PC when trying to win contracts to ship hundreds of thousands of systems to countries such as Pakistan, which chose Intel's design.
NTTDoCoMo is testing a form of Long Term Evolution (LTE) Internet access that could easily outrace any cellular broadband available on Earth, the company revealed today. Officially titled Super 3G, the format would use the same multiple-in, multiple-out antenna technique of 802.11n Wi-Fi to send and catch far more data than normal. By assembling the data from the antennas just in time, the format would let a cellphone download information as quickly as 300Mbps -- far faster than the HSDPA technology on which LTE is based, NTT says. The extra speed would make live video streaming simple to achieve and would allow previously impractical options such as multiplayer cellphone games.
Through the test of an upcoming, prototype Asus G2S laptop, an Italian website has confirmed the existence of the first mobile Core 2 Extreme processor. Codenamed the Merom XE, and more consistently labelled as the X7800, its two cores are clocked at 2.6GHz, with a Santa Rosa-level (800MHz) front-side bus and 4MB of Level 2 cache.
Most significantly, the CPU is said to be very friendly to overclocking; it can be pushed to 2.8 or even 3.0 GHz with an appropriate software utility. Alternately, users can reduce power consumption to as low as 27W, or return it to a normal 44W. Previous leaks have suggested that the 7800 will be out by the end of July at a price of $851. [via notebook italia]
Lenovo's Xiang notebook has been demonstrated at a southeast Asian expo, revealing features that have previously been available about the Olympic-themed device. Originally created to recall the "sacred fire" theme of China's 2008 sports event with red and white on the outside as well as a swirl imprint on the inside shell, the Xiang will be a 12-inch widescreen ultraportable with a 1.66GHz low-voltage Core Duo that strikes a balance between performance and the efficiency needed for the thin frame; the system goes without an optical drive but includes a multi-format card reader, ExpressCard slot, and three USB ports.
The recently announced price cut for the 60GB PlayStation 3 in North America is just a move to clear stock before the 80GB model becomes the only offering, according to Sony Computer Entertainment's European president David Reeves. The chief claims the intent is to eliminate stock of the 60GB model in the country over the course of the next few weeks, ultimately removing the smaller-capacity version entirely from stores by August 1st.
Licensing firm SoundExchange won't necessarily enforce the royalty rates for Internet radio that take effect Sunday, company director Jon Simson revealed late Thursday. While the organization had successfully blocked an appeal in court to delay the schedule for the royalties, Simson promised at a US Congressional hearing that online stations will have at least a grace period while SoundExchange determines more affordable rates. One guaranteed change will drop the minimum fees that would have been applied even to broadcasters who needed a slight amount of licensed music, according to one source familiar with the hearings.
Luxury home theater producer Bang & Olufsen today committed itself further to portable music with the Beosound 6. Instead of the Danish firm's past practice of relying on SD cards for storage on earlier Beosound models, the 6 includes 4GB of built-in flash and a more conventional sync process through USB. Less conventional is the inclusion of the company's A8 premium earbuds that promise good over-the-ear sound without the bulk of headphones. Battery life is rated at a complete 24 hours.
The American branch of JVC has announced a new pair of high-end headphones, the HA-NC250s. A noise-cancelling set, the 250s continuously monitor cancellation for feedback, and are thus able to kill 85 percent of outside sound. To improve this further, the earpieces have padding and a doubled housing structure to create isolation. For extra comfort the padding is made of a memory foam that conforms itself to the wearer's shape.
Audio is produced by two 1.6-inch drivers, and the set can be used with or without noise cancelling switched on; a single AAA battery will power cancellation for approximately 50 hours. JVC plans to ship the 250s in early August at a cost of $200.
Signaling the company's first real return to the US PC market, Commodore today brought its Cg series gaming PCs in the country. The introduction is also timed with the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64 and brings the high-end gaming systems that are reportedly popular in Europe to a wider audience with the latest specifications. The top-end CgXX includes the most recent parts, including Intel's quad-core, 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme chip as well as dual GeForce 8800 Ultra video cards, dual 500GB hard drives, and 2GB of RAM; it also includes the reborn Commodore's luxuries, such as an 850W power supply and one of many individualized case skins.
HP's week ended with a commemoration on Friday, celebrating the 35th year of the company's scientific calculators with the HP 35s. Built to closely resemble the original model, it also represents one of the most advanced small-screen calculators in 2007, HP says. 30KB of memory gives it enough memory for larger macro programming and 800 storage slots. It can also perform as many as 100 different math operations and input of values in either HP's custom format or Reverse Polish Notation as well as through conventional algebra.
iLive has introduced a new flat panel speaker set and docking system for the iPod. Numbered IHT3817DT, the device offers a 2.1 CH sound system with True 3D Sound and SRS TruBass sound enhancement. It features two stereo speakers and two subwoofers. In addition to accepting audio input from the iPod, the dock includes a digital tuning AM/FM Stereo Radio with Station Memory Presets. There is also a backlit LCD Segment Display w with a clock, timer and sleep timer. Outputs include a headphone jack, and there is an aux-in jack for other audio sources. There are also 4 AV Inputs, 2 RCA connections and 2 S-Video + RCA Audio Input connections. Composite and and S-Video jacks provide video and audio output. The unit is capable of charging the iPod mini/nano/shuffle/video/photo, and has certified Apple iPod Connectors, There is a motorized iPod Docking Drawer and iPod controls on the remote. Finally, there's a mini-USB Jack for PC Communication, USB Cord, included. The new dock is priced at $350.
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