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Envision on Tuesday unveiled a special computer LCD just for the North American chain retailer Best Buy. The G218a1 is geared to bringing both a large screen and audio to a price level previously impractical for lower-cost PCs. Underneath the 22-inch display are two 3-watt speakers that provide clear stereo sound for those without the budget or space for dedicated sound systems. The DVI port also claims HDCP encryption and would be an ideal match for home theater PCs, Blu-Ray players, and HDTV devices that will output protected video, Envision says. VGA input accommodates analog sources.
Chinese exporter Chinavasion is marketing an unusual, unnamed media player. While underwater MP3 players are nothing new, the Chinavasion device plays video, while being submersible to a depth of 10 feet. It can play coverted MPEG, WMV and ASF files; as a tradeoff, however, it only holds 1GB of content, and displays on a 1.8-inch screen. Similarly, the battery handles just three hours of video playback, or six hours of MP3 and WMA audio. Sound recordings can be made in WAV. No prices are currently available. [via Anything But iPod]
The open access rules demanded by the FCC for the 700MHz spectrum have been largely approved in advance of the auction for the frequencies, the US broadcast agency announced on Tuesday. As proposed by the government body's chariman Kevin Martin, 22MHz of the 60MHz to be abandoned by analog broadcast TV in 2009 will require that any licensed operator allow any cellphone, notebook, or other device to operate on the spectrum. Operators will also have to allow any software to run on the network and therefore could not block VoIP or other services to artificially create business, the FCC noted. Many companies have expressed interest in the frequencies due to their exceptionally long ranges and penetration through walls, which could spur the development of faster, more reliable cellphone and mobile Internet access.
A new Circuit City flyer appears to validate earlier rumors that the prices for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console will soon drop permanently. Now dated to August 12th, cuts should see the Premium system drop $50 to $350, with the Elite falling $30 to $450, and the Core model sliding just $20 to $280. As an incentive, the Premium bundle includes Rockstar's popular Table Tennis. The cuts are most likely aimed at Sony, whose rival PlayStation 3 was recently discounted by $100 to $499.
Acer is joining the likes of Dell in releasing PCs loaded with Linux, rather than the standard fallback of Windows XP or Vista. The Aspire 5710z is modelled after the basic 5710, but uses Ubuntu, a Linux variant with a friendlier graphical interface. As configured by the Singapore-based MemoryWorld, it has a a 1.73GHz dual-core Intel processor, plus 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard disk; the optical drive is a Super Multi DVD burner, and wireless comes in the form of 802.11b/g. The laptop is now selling from MemoryWorld for $999 SGD, or $660 US. [via Laptoping]
Customers of Amp'd Mobile facing the imminent shutdown of their service learned today that they will have at least a momentary reprieve through a new deal with the independent carrier Prexar Mobile, according to an announcement today. The northeastern provider says it has bought aspects of Amp'd Mobile's service and has developed a system that will let subscribers of the discontinued network switch over to Prexar seamlessly simply by plugging in their number and choosing a subscription plan. Customers will not be forced into a new contract or to drop their existing phones, Prexar vows.
Sony is facing a lawsuit over the Cell processor, the heart of the PlayStation 3 game console. The case was filed through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and accuses Sony of violating a 1991 patent by International Parallel Machines, now owned by the Parallel Processing Corporation. It documents a technology for "synchronized parallel processing with shared memory" -- a concept difficult to implement at its origins, but which is now one of many options available. PPC is seeking damages plus legal fees, as well as an injunction against future infringements.
Research in Motion today quietly unveiled the BlackBerry Curve 8310, a minor but significant upgrade to the original Curve released earlier this year. The new version of the phone adds a live GPS receiver absent in the normal 8300 edition and lets users plot driving routes by downloading map data from a central server, RIM says. Mapping also integrates with a user's contact list and provides an easy shortcut to finding coworkers and friends.
AT&T is planning a large-scale introduction of phones in August, claims an insider with access to the carrier's release schedule. In particular, the provider is expected to at last release two of Motorola's new-generation 3G phones -- the RAZR2 V9 and the larger Q9h -- on August 24th, meeting the handset maker's goal of bringing the RAZR2 to the US before the end of the summer. No AT&T-specific software extras were revealed with the leak, although both would have the speed and features for the network's eMusic Mobile online store and Video Share services.
SeaLife Cameras on Tuesday unveiled the ECOshot, a 6-megapixel compact camera which the company touts as the first truly toughened camera for the average user. Its specialized housing is completely waterproof down to a depth of 75 feet, making it ideal for divers, and will survive impacts from as high as six feet. The structure can also withstand such high pressure that an SUV or most any other vehicle can roll directly over the camera without breaking it, SeaLife claims through its tests.
Accessory maker SouthWing this afternoon marked the US launch of the SH440 Bluetooth headset with an introduction for AT&T. The hands-free earpiece overcomes the limited interface of most headsets by providing one of the first complete voice prompt systems for the device class. Wearers are not only guided through pairing the phone by voice commands but are given quick access to battery life and other details while the phone is in use. Those on AT&T's network can issue voice commands to cue audio news and weather info or check voicemail without ever reaching for the actual phone, SouthWing says.
SiRF Technology, the creator of the famous SiRFstar receivers used in a majority of GPS units, has announced a licensing and joint development deal with the CPU maker Intel. While the companies will not say exactly what they intend to produce, the expected results of the collaboration are said to involve "a wide range of mobile devices," and to "help location and wireless connectivity become more mainstream." Suggested platforms include cellphones, laptops, mobile Internet browsers and other handheld gear, specifically those equipped with Wi-Fi and/or WiMAX. This could be a reference to the Intel Metro concept, said to already be in production by an unknown builder.
In an unusual turn, the international electronics maker Haier has developed the WasH2O, a laundry machine said to clean clothes without a single drop of soap. Water molecules are broken through electrolysis into OH- and H+ ions, the former of which are said to attract any stains, while the latter provide a form of sterilization. Like normal washers the WasH2O has adjust cycles and temperatures, and can be done in as little as 25 minutes in the "Sport" mode. An "Eco Time" mode grants the option of less water consumption in exchange for a slower process. Several colors of the machine should launch in France in the near future, at a price of about €699 ($956). [via Luxurylaunches]
LG today previewed its XNote R200 portable at a Korean press event. The 12-inch widescreen adopts the same style as the S900 and other large notebooks, and offers much of the same performance in a smaller package. The reference design is based almost entirely around Intel's recent Santa Rosa platform and includes more than just a 2GHz Core 2 Duo running on the faster 800MHz bus, according to LG. The system is certified for Centrino Pro and builds in 802.11n Wi-Fi plus a chipset for remote administration and locking down files if used at an office. 1GB of Turbo Memory cache helps surmount the slow hard disk drives that bottleneck notebook speeds.
Iomega has released three new drives in its StorCenter line, specifically within the subset of its Network Hard Drive models. These are designed to operate as media and print servers, but can handle other roles as well, due to features such as Active Directory support, a journaling file system and backup software in the form of EMC Retrospect Express. The top-of-the-line 1TB drive also supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD configurations. All three drives have gigabit Ethernet connections, as well as two USB 2.0 ports for devices such as printers or extra hard drives. The products are compatible with UPnP technology, and work on Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems. The new 500 and 750GB drives cost $270 and $360; the 1TB StorCenter is $390.
Compeq Manufacturing has won a contract to begin making the printed circuit boards for upcoming iPods, according to reports from those close to the Taiwan company. The firm has allegedly signed its first deal with Apple and will begin producing small numbers of rigid-flex PCBs destined for the music players in August, with full-scale production to begin in September. Compeq is also said to have been validated for producing both the boards and some of the interconnects for the iPhone, shortlisting the company as a candidate for expanded iPhone production or as a backup.
Internet Explorer is the most influential technology of the past quarter-century, according to a new CompTIA study of IT pros. The firm says that a full two-thirds of all results nominated the Microsoft web browser for the top spot, eclipsing the second place Microsoft Word, which obtained 56 percent. Notably, virtually all of the top five was dominated by Microsoft products, according to the survey; only Apple's iPod was able to crack the upper ranks of the poll, tying with Excel at 49 percent and falling just behind Windows 95, which reached 50 percent.
Sanyo today unveiled its CCA-BC200 rear view camera for drivers of minivans and SUVs that want to eliminate blind spots. The less than 3.5 inches-wide camera can produce the typical fish-eye lens view for maximum coverage but can also intelligently adapt the view to create a more natural perspective; a toggle will automatically correct any distortions in the image and simplify identifying the position of children and others who might be threatened by the vehicle. Parking is also made easier through a unique technique dubbed AirCam that creates a virtual top-down view, helping large vehicles reverse safely into a tight area.
AT&T today rolled out eMusic Mobile, one of the first cellphone music stores to drop copy protection from its songs. As with eMusic's normal computer-only store and supporting previous leaks, songs are purchased in the unrestricted MP3 format rather than locked-down WMA or store-specific files. The freedom lets owners copy songs off the phone to other devices, including iPods and other portable media players; customers also get rights to download a second copy on their computer regardless of what will be with the mobile tracks. Opening the store also gives AT&T the largest mobile music catalog in the US at more than 2.7 million songs, according to the carrier.
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