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Research in Motion on late Tuesday unveiled the BlackBerry 8820, its first and long-anticipated smartphone with Wi-Fi. The full-QWERTY device includes the ability to connect to most wireless hotspots for Internet access and is one of very few phones to support 802.11a for corporate networks and homes that use the format. The handheld is similarly rare in providing Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) and, on supporting carriers, is the only BlackBerry capable of automatically hopping from cellular to VoIP and back to maintain calls without either consuming service plan minutes or wandering outside of Wi-Fi coverage.
Trimble today served those who need PDA-class software in the field with the Nomad, its new ultra-tough handheld. Rubber ends and a hardened casing render it shock- and vibration-proof to military levels, and tightened seals provide similar resistance to dust and to water. The device is completely submersible for up to half an hour in water up to 3.3 feet deep, Trimble says. Though not a smartphone, the device runs on Windows Mobile 6 and includes most of the wireless features used in more fragile devices, such as Internet access through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for headsets and other peripherals, and a 2-megapixel camera. Users can update the system after the sale with a CompactFlash card slot providing either more storage or room for specialized peripherals.
The German division of T-Mobile has possibly leaked its status as a European carrier for the iPhone. Local newspaper Focus has captured a screenshot (right, below) of the company's online store, where the iPhone is said to have briefly appeared as its own category. Along with this went the notice of an "indexation test," supporting the notion that T-Mobile is engaged in some kind of behind-the-scenes preparation that was exposed prematurely.
Motorola is close to releasing its first true slim phone for mainstream iDEN networks, says one report with photos leaked from Motorola. Though the i425 is already in service for Boost Mobile, the new i290 will bring the push-to-talk functions to larger carriers while keeping a slim look closer to the SLVR and other thinner Motorola designer phones. No camera will be included, but music support is possible through evidence of a mini-USB connector for sideloading data and a 2.5mm headphone jack.
Sprint has announced a partnership with Loopt, the self-described "social mapping" service currently associated with Boost Mobile. Members of Loopt are able to locate each other on their phones through GPS, complete with alerts whenever a friend happens to pass nearby. Users can also identify places and schedule events through the service, as well as share photos and profiles.
Because GPS represents a potential invasion of privacy, users can choose to edit their friends list directly from a phone, or hide themselves entirely. Loopt will be added as an option to over 25 phones in the next few weeks, at a price of $3 a month. [via CrunchGear]
Intel's early 2008 refresh of its Core 2 Duo chips for notebooks will be extensive, according to a new roadmap leaked online. Although the semiconductor firm has already publicly confirmed that its Penryn architecture will define the upgrade through the use of a cooler-running 45-nanometer process and new SSE4 vector units, the new information points to a relatively sharp increase in clock speeds as well as memory cache. The base clock speed will increase from 1.8GHz in today's architecture (known as Santa Rosa) to 2.1GHz, the roadmap shows; other chips will increase speeds by as much as 400MHz, with 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz, and 2.6GHz models being introduced at the same time.
Computer and general electronics maker ASUS has announced the T500, a cellular broadband modem that fits into a laptop's PC Card slot. It is a foremost a WCDMA/UMTS card, able to download at speeds up to 3.6Mbps on 850, 1900 and 2100MHz frequencies; should broadband not be available, it can be stepped down to GPRS or EDGE at 850, 900, 1800 or 1900MHz.
The modem is also notable for an internal antenna, plus a headset jack for voice calls, and the ability to send SMS messages. Contacts can be synched with Microsoft Outlook, and the modem stores call records of the 100 last dialed, missed or received numbers. While ASUS says that the T500 is now on sale, the company does not currently have a product page.
Sales of HD DVD players and their accompanying movies are growing far faster than those for Blu-Ray, if statistics collected by research group NPD and pushed by HD DVD's Promo Group are to be believed. Toshiba's players saw a spike in sales of about 37 percent during the spring versus the winter, with movies growing by 20 percent; Blu-Ray actually declined in this same period by 27 percent for devices and 5 percent, according to the study. The Promo Group attributed the difference to price cuts on players that brought systems as low as $299. Most customers have based their decisions on this, the HD DVD backers said.
The Japanese company Sophia will tomorrow premiere the nani, a high-end media phone. Evoking comparisons to the Apple iPhone, it is controlled entirely through a touchscreen, with other comparable features including Wi-Fi, a camera, and widescreen video playback. Several elements are in fact superior to the iPhone, such as its TV tuner, 4.3-inch display and 800x480 maximum resolution. The nani is however a Windows Mobile phone, and relies on swappable microSD cards instead of large internal memory. Pricing and release schedules have yet to be published. [via SCI FI Tech]
Verizon on Tuesday launched a significant reworking of its FIOS TV fiber-optic TV service which is designed at once to be simpler and more powerful. Key to this is a far more visual interface, the company says: rather than use the typical sea of text menus, the guide lets owners browse movies by their poster art and through obvious menu layers when avoiding text is not an option. A live search tool will also display results based on keywords as the user types them out with the remote, showing not only titles or actors but also whether the show is local to an attached DVR or viewable on TV.
Sony this afternoon surprised the market by launching the GC1. Described as the Net-sharing Cam, the device represents the company's first camcorder with the budget features and software for web-only video. The fixed-lens camera can record either VGA-level video or capture 5-megapixel still shots with flash assist; the addition of new Picture Motion Browser software now lets a computer prepare and upload the GC1's video directly to web hosts rather than rely on manual uploads through sometimes cumbersome websites.
HTC's Kaiser smartphone should become AT&T's new flagship device, according to one blog that claims to have inside information. The phone would replace the AT&T 8525, also known as HTC's TyTN, and would represent a clear upgrade through the distinctive tilting keyboard, a sharper 3-megapixel camera, and a jump from 64MB to 128MB of RAM. Whether or not the phone's front camera would be used for AT&T's Video Share service is unknown.
Photo uploading service ShoZu today revealed an upgrade to its mobile app that lets cellphone owners send to Facebook, allowing members of the social networking site to add photo collections without first reaching a PC. Users can not only tag photos but also have the ability to link their Flickr photo accounts to the site, ShoZu says. A new Facebook tool named Photo Status will automatically transfer photos uploaded to Flickr to a Facebook profile, providing near live photo albums for events as they happen.
Keyspan today began shipping its new Presentation Remote Pro, a wireless 2.4GHz remote control that works with Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote presentation software. With its laser pointer, mouse and audio controls, and 100-foot range, the Presentation Remote Pro is designed for public speakers and presenters in commerce or education because its range covers large meeting rooms and lecture halls. Users simply plug the receiver into the USB port on a Mac or PC and the remote begins to work within seconds, according to Keyspan, and all of the remote's functions are available at the touch of a button without the need to switch "modes." Keyspan's Presentation Remote Pro features RF connectivity, mouse control, a laser pointer, volume control, a hand slide that darkens the screen when desired, and an on/off switch. The device is shipping for $80.
The fledging Cricket cellular service has adopted the Nokia 6275i, currently the only Nokia phone in its lineup. Cricket is an unusual phone carrier in that it offers flat rates for unlimited local, long-distance and data services; the 6275i is a mid-range phone, its main highlights being a two-megapixel camera with flash, and the ability to play MP3 files or FM radio. The phone is compatible with Cricket's US roaming service, and can be linked to other devices through Bluetooth, USB or an infrared port. The main limitations are digital zoom, and just 21MB of internal storage with no expansions. Cricket is now selling the 6275i for $200.
The Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has launched a new and unusual cellphone, the F704i. The phone is actually waterproof to a depth of 10 feet, and so can be used safely in conditions that would otherwise wreck normal devices. It is nevertheless attached to the FOMA 3G broadband network, and can roam worldwide using FOMA World Wing, and download music through Napster to Go. Supported music files include MP3 and WMA; rounding out features are a 1.3-megapixel camera and DCMX banking. Because of its features, the 704i will likely never be sold outside of Japan. [via Akihabara News]
Motorola today quietly released a new addition to its TALKABOUT two-way radios in the form of the T9580RSAME. Beyond offering hikers walkie-talkie communication at up to 25 miles between units, the pair of handsets also offers Specific Area Message Encoding to deliver text and voice messages through the National Weather Service in the US or Environment Canada. Three-letter codes and voice alerts appear on the display depending on the circumstances; the free service provides warnings for anything from minor inclement weather to hurricanes and emergencies. This could be essential for trekkers without a cellphone or when phone traffic prevents calls, Motorola says.
Samsung on Tuesday brought the style of its normally compact Sens notebooks (also known as the Aura) to a large desktop replacement, the G25. In addition to a sleeker look than most systems of its kind, the new system's 19-inch display is one of the clearest of any notebook display, according to Samsung: a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and 300cd/m2 brightness should make the screen ideal for desktop use. The Korean firm also makes the best use of the bigger casing to fit the AC adapter inside, saving the bulk of a secondary power brick.
Accompanying the slim PSP, Sony's SCEI gaming division has also announced a new digital TV tuner add-on for the handheld console. The plug-in adapter receives Japan's 1Seg digital broadcast networks and also includes a new electronic program guide that keeps tabs on current and upcoming shows without interrupting the show at hand. The tuner is said to require the newer PSP design and goes on sale at the same September 20th launch for a price equal to $57; a US release is unexpected and would require a switch to MediaFLO TV networks.
MacAlly on Tuesday rolled out several new accessories for Apple's handhelds, including some of its first iPhone-specific devices. The USBPOWER combo kit is designed for worldwide use; owners can plug either an iPod or an iPhone into a car charger's USB port to draw power from any car with a 12-volt socket; a companion AC adapter also charges either device and includes international plugs that support over 150 countries. The USBPOWER kit is available now for $30; the car charger ships separately as the USBCIG2 for $15.
A struggle is underway between companies hoping to build future iPhone production runs, according to claimed sources within Taiwan's electronics business. While Foxconn has been identified by financial group Goldman Sachs as the principal supplier for Apple to date, frequent Apple production partner Quanta has admitted that it hopes to earn at least some orders for the device. Local rival Inventec is also involved in competition, according to the report. However, Foxconn is still expected to be the favored producer for the iPhone because its existing commitment gives it an edge in manufacturing extra models. Adding second or third companies would primarily be to reduce the impact should Foxconn need to halt production, according to the report.
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