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Representatives of the Blu-Ray industry are challenging claims that HD DVD is the dominant HD format in Europe. Promoters of the latter have suggested that in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, there are nearly three times more HD DVD players than Blu-Ray models. These figures have admittedly excluded the Sony PlayStation 3 however, which can play Blu-Ray movies, but is foremost a game console. The HD DVD committee only tracks devices which are primarily movie players.
The very first Xeon processors built on Intel's 45-nanometer Penryn architecture have been revealed, according to a leaked memo circulated inside the semiconductor firm. The new chips, already nicknamed "Harpertown," will both represent Intel's first quad-core x86 chips to move beyond the 3GHz barrier while also improving the efficiency of the cores themselves. A top-end Xeon X5640 will peak at 3.16GHz, with at least 2.83GHz (E5440) and 2.5GHz (E5420) chips occupying the mid-range and a low-power 2.33GHz model (L5410) consuming only 50 watts of energy on average. All editions will have 12MB of level 2 cache versus the 8MB of today's CPUs, reducing the likelihood of bus or memory bottlenecks.
File this under zany. In an attempt to secure purchase of a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in Mesa, AZ, the offering realtor is putting up a free 8GB iPhone for the person who successfully closes escrow on the property. This odd page making the free iPhone pitch touts features of the iPhone as much as the house, stating "iPhone offer is valid only with a contract signed by Friday, July 27th at 5pm AZT. iPhone will be provided to buyer upon the successful close of escrow." The $275,000 home is situated on the Augusta Ranch Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona and features a built-in BBQ made of stacked stones, utility room with washer and dryer and a two-car garage. Any takers?
Nightclub, record label and accessory vendor Ministry of Sound has debuted a new music player, the MOSMP085. Though available only in 1 or 2GB capacities, it has a two-inch color LCD, as well as voice recording and an internal speaker. It also benefits from an internal battery, and comes with in-ear headphones for which buds are just an accessory.
As a promotional bonus, five Ministry of Sound songs are preloaded, and two more are a free choice from the company's online store. MP3, WAV, JPEG and WMA/DRM 10 files are supported. Pricing is £45 ($92) for 1GB or £50 ($102) for 2. [via Tech Digest]
Epson on Monday recognized the problems with setting up home theaters for its PowerLite rear projectors and unveiled the Ensemble Home Cinema. The system includes all the equipment needed for a home theater for those without the inclination or time to hand-pick components: either a 1080p- or 720p rear projector is supported by an upscaling AV receiver, an Atlantic 5.1 surround system, and a unique 100-inch retractable screen with speakers for the front audio channels. Even the cabling and mounting brackets to fully install the system are included, Epson boasts.
Worldwide phone carrier Vodafone is denying a Financial Times report that suggests it will buy out the American carrier Verizon. The Times had earlier reported that Vodafone was considering a $160 billion bid for Verizon, which if completed would be one of the largest acquisitions ever recorded. This was considered as an alternative to a put option for its Verizon stake, which could still allow Vodafone to extract as much as $20 billion out of Verizon for Vodafone shareholders.
FogScreen today unveiled the FogScreen One, the second version of the company's unique waterborne display projector. The new model is designed to output video or PC sources on a one-meter (3.3-foot) screen of vapor droplets small enough to be used in areas where the company's larger Inia would be impractical, such as offices or even some private settings. The smaller size is also stackable and can be programmed to play video or other data in sync with any number of extra screens.
TrekStor today introduced its highest-capacity hard drive capable of holding 1TB of data in a 3.5-inch external USB enclosure that works with Mac, Linux, and Windows systems. The drive -- titled DataStation duo w.u -- features Nero BackItUp2 Essentials software for easy "Push-for-Backup" archive function as well as a front panel on/off switch, storing two 500GB hard drives that are recognized as a single 1TB drive. The duo w.u hard disk offers fast data transfer via a hi-speed USB 2.0 interface, and is bootable -- shipping pre-formatted and immediately operable. The included Nero BackItUp2 backup software allows users to complete data backups quickly and easily, from individual files and folders to entire drives. "Simply hit the switch, and any data selected is secured immediately, without having to load any backup settings." The software compresses the backup directly 'on-the-fly' to reduce data volume, and users can password protect data to guard against unauthorized access. The duo w.u ships with a USB 2.0 cable and an external power supply alongside Nero BackItUp2 Essentials software for $430.
HP today at last began shipping the Compaq 2710p, its first true entry into ultralight tablet PCs. One of the last systems to launch after HP's May announcements, the finished product manages a thin profile of 1.1 inches and longer battery life through the use of an ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo as well as smaller 1.8-inch hard drives. Its membership as part of Intel's Santa Rosa generation also gives it X3100 video and the option of 802.11n Wi-Fi. Every model also has the pick of EVDO or HSDPA mobile broadband as well as Bluetooth for peripherals.
Kingston today added to the release of its Migo drive with the DataTraveler 100. The company hopes to appeal to both convenience and ruggedness by implementing a thumb slide to control the drive's USB connector; the technique new to the DataTraveler guards the port without requiring a cap or a cable to plug the drive into a computer. A side benefit of this method is a short profile that more easily fits into a pocket, Kingston adds.
Although the imposition of harsh royalties has been avoided by a last-minute agreement, Internet radio may yet have to pay another price to stay on the air. The collection group SoundExchange has issued a statement of what it would like from broadcasters: in exchange for capping the $500 per-channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year, stations would have to provide detailed song reporting, and work to block "streamripping" -- recording a stream to extract individual tracks. This by definition requires DRM.
Microsoft today began shipping its promised Windows Home Server software. The Redmond developer's software is designed to run media hub PCs and synchronizes the music, videos, and documents of systems across a home network to share them with devices that can recognize a Media Center device, including the Xbox 360. Owners can also login remotely through the web to transfer files and don't need video output to run a compatible PC.
Kingston has released a new USB flash drive, an 8GB variant of the DataTraveler II Plus Migo Edition. The Migo software synchronizes with a user's e-mail and web-browsing settings, allowing it to carry cookies, bookmarks and other important information to other computers and keep it consistent; a recent addition is the "Universal Mail Format," which lets users access messages with multiple clients including Outlook and Windows Mail. Supported Non-Microsoft software is limited to v1.5+ of Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird.
Ion Audio tackled the increasing problem of preserving classic records today by launching two vinyl decks that streamline the process. The iTTUSB05 and pictured iTTUSB10 contain a USB port found on some newer turntables that let supporting software capture their audio for editing or direct playback. Special to the new models is the software, Ion says. Each includes EZ Vinyl Converter software that simultaneously converts records to digital files but also sends them directly to iTunes, simplifying the process for those without editing experience or with large vinyl collections.
Intel today confirmed the launch of the mobile Core 2 Extreme, its first such chip for portable systems. The chip known as the X7800 is designed for desktop replacement notebooks and other larger systems and is clocked by default at 2.6GHz at 44 watts, higher than the 2.4GHz and 35 watts of the fastest regular CPUs. While bus speed is rated at 800MHz, the processor is multiplier-unlocked, Intel says: this lets enthusiasts with access to the right tools ramp speeds even further if the notebook can handle the extra power and thermal loads.
AT&T may be offering a special low-cost plan for customers who threaten to cancel service, according to those who have called complaining about Internet performance. Those who declare their intent to close their AT&T accounts with specific reference to slow Internet speeds are said to get an offer from sales agents to lower their plans to $40 per month from the $60 minimum in exchange for dropping the unlimited data plan and SMS texting, making it more affordable for those customers who don't want to pay for the unused feature.
LG this morning broke ground for its Flatron LCDs with the L206WU, its first-ever screen based on USB for output. Processing onboard the 20-inch wide display gives computers an extra screen regardless of what their video cards can manage. The system is also distinctly efficient and will drive three monitors at once through a single USB port, LG says. Future updates will also permit as many as six LCDs. All displays attached to a PC run at a native 1680x1050 -- versus the 1280x1024 of the Samsung 940UX -- and include the same 3,000:1 contrast, 2ms response time, and 32-bit color of the normal model.
Sprint on Monday morning added a second Katana model to its updates today with the Katana DLX, a significant upgrade to the original version. Where the previous model offered only a VGA camera and basic support for data, the deluxe replacement adds a 1.3-megapixel photography system and EVDO for full use of Sprint's Internet and music/video streaming services, including 'live' TV and the music store. Entertainment is also backed by enhanced support for AAC and MP3 as well as microSD cards up to 4GB, 32MB of built-in memory, and Bluetooth 2 with stereo audio support.
Alltel this morning revealed that it had imported Samsung's B660 clamshell phone as the Hue. Like the Korean version, the 1.3-megapixel camera phone includes an increasingly rarer faceplate system that lets owners customized the striped look of the outer shell; two faceplates are included in the box and range from white to brighter colors such as green. Though one of the company's more inexpensive phones, the Hue supports Bluetooth and EVDO. It also accommodates the carrier's homemade services such as Jump Music for loading songs to the phone and Celltop for widgets that provide news, weather, and other updates.
The digital rights management scheme that guards media bought from the Zune Market place has been compromised, says a forum post and subsequent reports from users themselves. An updated version of the controversial FairUse4WM now exposes and strips the secret keys for the proprietary format as well as any song or video that uses the more widespread Windows Media format, allowing any of these files to play without their earlier usage limits. The update also supports Windows Vista, whose change in code had previously restricted any attempts to break DRM.
Intel today rolled out its first desktop CPUs for home users that take advantage of the faster 3-series chipset. Headlining its updates is the Core 2 Extreme QX6850, the chipmaker says. At 3GHz, the four-core processor is tied for the highest clock speed with Intel's specialized Xeon X5365 yet brings the speed and the 1,333MHz of bandwidth to a price friendly to avid gamers. Three Core 2 Duo models also see the faster bus and use it to ramp up speeds for mid- to high-range processors at 2.33GHz (E6550), 2.66GHz (E6750), and 3GHz (E6850).
An anonymously posted PDF File on the FourThirds Photo discussion site (which has now been removed at Olympus' request) details a new top-end SLR digital camera, dubbed E-P1, which will feature a 10-megapixel optical lens and a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 sec. Originally announced as a prototype in March, the camera also features a splash proof body, wireless flash control, a larger viewfinder, improved low light performance, a dust reduction system, and a highly enhanced anti-shake system for reduction of blur when image capture is not stable. No pricing information for the new camera has been announced, though competition will likely force it to be priced below $2000. The new camera is posed to go head to head against Nikon's D200, which offers a similoar 10.2 megapixel CCD image sensor.
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