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Denon at its special event has revealed the AS-3 series of Network-Enabled clients. Two docks -- the Ethernet-only ASD-3N and 802.11g-based ASD-3W -- connect to any receiver, stereo, or TV set to stream audio and video from the user's local network; a remote control navigates tracks, and on TV setups provides a visual menu for browsing content. Dockable iPods can also attach through a special slot to share their media separately from other devices. The system recognizes metadata such as album artwork and doesn't rely on Denon AV equipment as the destination, the company says.
Sony and Apple are still feeling lingering effects of defective lithium-ion batteries (manufactured by the former) that were part of a massive global recall initiated in September 2006 after some units burst into flames. A Japanese man has sued both Sony and Apple Japan for 2 million yen (about $16,700) after he allegedly suffered burns on his finger when his Apple portable's battery pack caught on fire. His wife, who claims she had to seek medical treatment as a result of stress from the incident, is also named as a plaintiff in the suit. The recall has thus far netted more than 10 million Sony-manufactured batteries, which caught fire due to a short circuit resultant from errant, small metal particles. In spite of Sony's efforts, Apple notebooks were still purportedly catching fire as late as March of this year. An Australian MacBook owner whose battery was smoking and hissing successfully extinguished a flame, after which the battery proved to be swollen and charred. His battery was not listed under the recall serial number range.
AT&T today quietly listed the Pantech C150 as an option for subscribers. The Korean-made candybar phone escapes stereotypes of budget phones with a sleek, all-white design that measures exactly half an inch thick. Its VGA camera is simple but includes a flash for better focus in dark scenes; Bluetooth is also a relative luxury for the class. Internet access is basic with GPRS, which AT&T uses to offer e-mail and instant messages across AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo Messenger.
During hearings for the forthcoming auction of the 700MHz spectrum, members of the Federal Communications Commission have expressed doubts about Google's prerequisites for bidding. While Google is in favor of totally open access, with numerous network operators leasing at wholesale prices, FCC chairman Kevin Martin is backing a split plan in which at least 22 of the 60 new bands would have an open-access requirement, and there would be no provisions for network neutrality or wholesaling.
PC builder Medison claimed to have solved the cost problems associated with full-size notebooks and has introduced the Celebrity, a new 14-inch system that blends free software and low-cost parts to achieve a $150 price Rather than incur the license costs of Windows, the designer loads the system with Red Hat's freely available Fedora Linux. Doing so also allows the design to run on inexpensive components without sacrificing responsiveness; the reference system is powered by just a 1.5GHz Celeron M with 256MB of memory and 40GB of storage.
HP will likely be the second major PC builder to offer Linux systems to everyday users after Dell, according to multiple sources within HP speaking to eWeek. Citing the sudden interest in Linux for the mainstream in the wake of Dell's offering, contacts at both HP and Ubuntu Linux creator Canonical say that a deal is underway which would preload Ubuntu on at least one home system. The unnamed model may even appear at retail instead of Dell's only-only strategy, reports one source. Strong evidence of HP's support is said to come through a 5,000-system contract for the University of Delhi and the buyout of Neoware, a thin-client PC that relies on Linux.
As a complement to its Blu-Ray players, Denon today also launched a new remote control system it hopes will be truly useful for multi-room home theater setups. The RC-7000CI (shown) is said to have one of the largest electronics databases of any home theater device and can be programmed over a USB connection for most any AV hardware in a given room. The 7000CI also chooses RF over infrared to eliminate the line of sight issues that plague most other remotes; owners don't need to be in the same room, Denon claims. Newer gear from the company will also display digital track information, such as iPod track data or the current music on an XM satellite radio station.
AT&T and eMusic are said to be on the verge of launching new mobile download service, one which may have significant impact on the industry. According to an anonymous source, this service will be launching on July 31st, and allow customers to download five tracks a month for $7.49 -- most likely without DRM, in keeping with eMusic's policies elsewhere. Many mobile download services exert tight control on their files, making it difficult or impossible to copy them to other devices as desired. A popular DRM-free alternative could sway competitors.
Oppo (possibly connected to Oppo Digital) today said it would enter business of portable media players with one of the thinnest video-capable players yet. Titled the Blast, the device would include a comparatively large LCD but measure about 6.9mm (0.27 inches) thick; thinner than a CD case, the company touts. Unusual touches also manifest in the touch-sensitive keypad and format support. In addition to conventional music, photos, and videos, the Blast should play Flash videos encoded in FLV, lossless audio in either APE or FLAC, and animated GIF pictures.
In an unusual branding strategy, ThinkPad maker Lenovo has announced that two upcoming desktop PCs will bear the Olympic insignia, reflecting the company's status as a sponsor for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The 3000-series J200s will be based on Intel processors, while the J205s will be based on AMD chips; in both circumstances the computers will be low-cost models, with features such as six USB ports and gigabit Ethernet connections. Graphics will be integrated, and items like a DVD multi-drive or a nine-in-one card reader will merely be optional. Shipping is expected in August for prices starting at $399 and $449. [Image courtesy of Gearlog]
A long-awaited price cut for the Xbox 360 could appear on August 8th, according to insiders speaking with a Hollywood magazine. The drop would lower the price of the Microsoft console by about $50, though the sources did not reveal whether the drop was universal or would apply only to an individual model, such as the $299 Core or the $479 Elite. The reason for passing up an announcement at this month's E3 gaming show is equally unknown but may be closely related to the launch of EA's latest Madden football game, which could help the console sell extra units. Microsoft declined comment and said that it had nothing to announce at this time.
Samsung this afternoon revealed final details of its already anticipated UP5000 Blu-Ray and HD DVD hybrid player. Confirming early details, the BD-UP5000 (pictured) will solve many of the issues with combo devices from other companies by playing the enhanced features of either movie disc, including picture-in-picture commentary. It should also stand as the best Blu-Ray player in the company's line, Samsung boasts. More recent decoding can play movies at 24 frames per second without triggering pulldown conversion, and output to HDTVs is sent through HDMI 1.3 for deeper colors when supported by an attached TV.
Toshiba on Wednesday revealed a much larger expansion of its TransMemory USB drives through the U2K series. The new model retains the familiar capped design of earlier models but uses improved memory techniques to double the top storage capacity to a full 32GB without also growing in size. New models also include a downloadable password lock for guarding data and, on Windows systems, support Vista's ReadyBoost feature that speeds load times by caching information that would normally have to be read from the slower hard drive.
BenQ has announced a 15.4-inch laptop, the Joybook R56, meant to appeal on both an internal and external level. Driving the system is the Intel Santa Rosa platform, in this case a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo running on a PM965 motherboard; crucially, graphics are supplied by a dedicated Nvidia card, the GeForce 8400M G. 1080p output is supported via HDMI, and the computer further has an eSATA port for rapid data transfer. The system also has an unusual emphasis on sound, as its 2W main channels are joined by a 3W subwoofer, as well as noise and echo cancellation software.
Helio today revealed a new update for its popular Ocean phone that adds support for Exchange networks and Office files, allowing the normally entertainment-oriented device to double as a smartphone for mobile workers. The update adds full ActiveSync support and lets Helio's subscribers automatically pull calendars, contacts, and e-mail from the network. The included file viewer also promises to open many of the attachments that find their way into work e-mail, such as Excel, Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files.
Coders working to break the iPhone's restrictions have successfully run open-source programs from the device, according to reports from the developers' #iPhone IRC channel. Recent efforts have built and executed several programs that can be easily compiled to run on the cellphone's ARM processor, including a functional Apache web server for hosting sites. More narrowly-focused tools such as the Python programming language, the vim text editor, and other small utilities are also functional and have been compiled into binaries that can be launched by knowledgeable users.
LeapFrog today helped prep late primary and high school students for school with a new version of the FLY Fusion, its pen-based computer. The improved version quadruples the onboard memory and now easily connects to a PC to transfer files over USB. Kids using the Fusion now have much more incentive to use a specially-designed paper to write and store digital notes they can bring up later for homework or in Microsoft Word format on their computer, according to the company. Students further have access to a basic calculator and an MP3 player to keep themselves entertained and working without extra devices.
AT&T today provided a helping hand to some of its subscribers with Mobile Backup, a new online service meant to assuage cellphone users that may store valuable contact info only on their handsets. Downloading a special app to compatible phones lets users automatically save contacts to a remote server and restored should the device be damaged or lost. Web access to the contacts also gives an opportunity to edit or view contacts without having the phone itself; this can be immediately valuable if a phone is stolen and the contacts may be at risk, AT&T says.
Pantech's luxury label Sky today unveiled the IM-U200, also known as the Shooting Star. The entire design is built around a unique swivel design whose closed shape recalls the sleeker, rounded lines of a spaceship, according to the company; twisting the display around reveals unusual, ripple-effect directional and number pads. Features themselves are relatively conventional for a mid-range phone with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and MP3 playback likely using microSD for removable storage.
Claiming to have established a new first, Samsung today said it had become the first display maker to have produced its own LCD with a DisplayPort interface. A new, 30-inch screen by the company uses the extremely high 10.8Gbps bandwidth of the new video connector to display a full 2560x1600 resolution picture without resorting to dual links. The screen includes a new Genesis chipset that could bring the display even higher to 10 bits per pixel, or one billion colors -- a feat that would require three DVI connections, Samsung says.
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