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Sony today unveiled a new update to its Pocket Bit Mini line, also known as the Micro Vault Tiny in North America. The new upscale version, known as the USM-HX, comes in black or white with a gold color trim and also ships with a unique two-way case which lets the card's USB port either face outwards to connect to a PC or inwards to guard it during travel, with a swiveling cover providing an extra layer of security. Sony also serves its pro audience by bundling the new Pocket Bit with encryption software and a virtual expander tool that maximizes the drive's usable space.
A much smaller and cooler version of the Xbox 360's three-core CPU may arrive as early as next year, based on observations made by Chartered Semiconductor president Chia Song Hwee during a public conference call. The company is said to be developing a processor for a "video-game device" which is likely connected to the company's existing work for the Microsoft game system and would be manufactured on a 45 nanometer process, smaller than the yet to be released 65nm upgrade.
A recent judgment by the UK Copyright Tribunal, on online royalty rates, may point towards Apple interest in ad-supported music services, reports say. The consultancy firm Music Ally has investigated the tribunal's decision, and notes that an Apple employee was a key witness. iTunes VP Eddie Cue is quoted as saying Apple would only pay advertising revenue if "that revenue is earned as a result of an advertisement, sponsorship or a click-through link located on a Licensed service...and only where the Licensed Service is offered to the User at a price which has been artificially depressed to reflect such revenue."
The official Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that it had embraced the Bluetooth 2.1 standard, greenlighting its use for future devices. The update to the 2.0 spec promises to implement a technique known as Sniff Subrating to improve battery life by as much as five times in hardware that needs a steady stream of data; keyboards, mice, and watches are just a few of the examples, the SIG says. Updating to 2.1 should also greatly simplify the pairing process by having a host device automatically pair with devices by looking for certain device classes (such as headsets) rather than requiring special actions on both ends.
The German airliner Lufthansa is in discussions with "a number of companies" to help bring back in-flight Internet services, according to company representative Michael Lamberty, speaking with InfoWorld. Earlier in the decade Lufthansa equipped 60 to 80 of its planes for Connexion, a Boeing service that started sales in 2004; it was joined by 11 other airlines based in Asia and Europe. Blaming the travel slump following the 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, however, Boeing decided to abandon Connexion in 2006, calling it financially unviable. This effectively brought in-flight Internet to a halt worldwide.
Sony may turn the PlayStation 3 into a digital video recorder sometime in 2008, claims the company's New Zealand marketing head Warwick Light in comments to a national newspaper. The executive noted in an interview that his company hoped to release a DVB-T tuner add-on for the PS3 sometime next year that would tie Freeview over-the-air digital TV into the console, allowing gamers to schedule and capture HD shows to the system's hard drive.
"We're also hoping next year -- about the same time that Freeview launches its terrestrial broadcasting service [in March] -- to release a digital tuner for the PS3, turning it into a programmable TV recorder," Light said.
Verizon will match AT&T's upcoming plans for a series of new phones this month from Motorola and other handset producers, according to snapshots of a private presentation. The ROKR Z6tv is now confirmed and will be the first American-designed phone with support for V CAST TV broadcasts; the device should also be joined by the RAZR2 V9m and the previously unannounced Q9m, which brings Windows Mobile 6 and many other enhancements of the GSM-only Q9h to CDMA networks.
Keyspan today began shipping its new USB 2.0 Server, combining the functionality of a USB print server and a USB extender. The device allows Mac and PC clients to access two high-speed USB 2.0 devices over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and enables multiple users to share USB devices on a network while extending a USB connection between a host computer and the USB device over great distances. The USB 2.0 Server eliminates the need to dedicate a computer as a host for a USB device, according to Keyspan, and is compatible with all types of USB devices. The device supports bi-directional communication with printers that allows users to monitor ink as well as paper levels remotely, and works work Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later as well as Windows XP or Windows Vista. Keyspan's USB 2.0 Server is priced at $130.
Making the most of the iPod's inherent abilities, Monster Cable today released its Wireless Audio Bridge for the iPod. Instead of connecting the iPod to a dock and gaining only limited control, the Bridge transforms the iPod itself into the remote; a small Dock Connector transmitter plugs into the Apple jukebox and transmits sound to a base station (shown) that taps into a conventional stereo. The implementation gives full access to iPod menus and works on the 2.4GHz band up to 30 feet away from the base.
Acer this afternoon announced that its new Gemstone notebooks were at last reaching the US in two models. The 15.4-inch Aspire 5920 arrives as the showcase of the entire line with a still-rare HD DVD reader and DVD rewriter combo drive as standard. Audio is also produced in Dolby Home Theater virtual surround for stereo sources or real surround with the right mix of hardware and content. Performance is also high-end with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, a 200GB hard disk, and a GeForce 8600M GT for graphics duties. It sells in shops and online today for $1,999.
Audio specialists Bowers and Wilkins today leapt into iPod audio with the Zeppelin. Shaped like the airship of its namesake, the device echoes the high style of the label but also the emphasis on accurate sound. Four tweeters with glass-fiber cones and tapered tubes are joined by a 5-inch woofer and combine to produce audio more reminiscent of the company's floor-standing sets; about 100 watts of sustained power through a three-channel amp define it as one of the strongest speakers in the class, by B&W's estimates.
Sony says that next week's SIGGRAPH show, it will demonstrate a preliminary computer board based on the Cell processor, the same one used in the company's PlayStation 3 game console. Designed primarily by IBM, in tandem with Sony and Toshiba, the Cell has one main processor and eight sub-processors, helping to make it the fastest of the current console CPUs.
IDG News reports that the Cell Computing Board is small enough to fit in a 1U-size server, and is being paired with the RSX graphics processor, also used in the PS3. The new board is mostly likely intended for advanced 3D or video work; Toshiba displayed Cell-based capture and streaming hardware at 2006's Ceatec expo. The platform's future may be in doubt though, since a recent patent lawsuit suggests that the Cell concept belongs to the Parallel Processing Corporation.
Panasonic Japan has a announced a future relative of the America-bound HDC-SD5, the SD7. The key difference is an upgrade to 1080p support, by comparison to the SD5's 1080i. It also uses a vertical orientation, and is said to be the smallest and lightest "full HD" camera in the world, weighing a mere 12 ounces even with a battery and memory card inserted. It will come bundled with a 4GB SDHC card, and record in the H.264-based AVCHD format. Ten-times optical zoom provides a range of 43-429mm. The SD7 should ship to Japan on September 8th, at a cost of about 140,000 yen ($1,175). [via Impress Watch]
Corsair hoped to mend the environment today by introducing the VX Series collection of power supplies for PCs. Where past PSUs have largely focused on performance systems, the new models take steps to cut power use when possible: the 450- and 550-watt models each boast active power factor correction that prevents oversupply and are 80 percent efficient, meeting the tougher new Energy Star levels for green performance. The reduced power draw could also be useful for home theater PCs which are often left running for hours, according to Corsair.
AVerMedia expanded its notebook TV tuner options on Wednesday and introduced the Hybrid ExpressCard. The card fits into the 54mm slot of many more recent notebooks and gives their owners the opportunity to watch TV no matter where they may be. World analog tuning provides at least basic signals anywhere on Earth; North American residents have the added luxury of HDTV with an additional ATSC tuner for over-the-air shows up to 1080i. Either delivery method can be captured to MPEG-2 with hardware encoding; users of Windows XP Media Center or Vista Home Premium will also see the Hybrid surface as a normal TV tuner for DVR and live viewing functions.
BenQ on Wednesday introduced the E1000 to its Elegant camera line. Claiming the deepest sensor of any model in the series at 10 megapixels, the point-and-shoot comes in a sleeker black finish and includes not one but two different anti-shake modes. A physical shortcut button instantly kicks in an ISO sensitivity boost (up to the peak of 1600) and reduces the shutter speed; software settings on the camera's menus introduce a dynamic anti-shake mode that adjusts ISO and shutter speed on the fly depending on the conditions. BenQ further brings in a total of 24 scene presets with unusual modes such as Oil Painting and Sketch, and allows a special scene mode that captures 12 scene types in one second. This gives photographers a chance to compare scene filters without having to decide before the shot is taken, the company says.
DirecTV and TiVo today jointly announced a set of software upgrades that will reach the satellite TV provider's TiVo-based DVR devices. The future enhancement will bring features previously seen on TiVo's independent Series 2 devices, such as a deleted items folder for safety's sake and overlap protection to prevent one scheduled show from interrupting another. DirecTV itself will also bring in a new feature and allow its remote booking to schedule on-demand shows through the recorder.
OTTO this morning lent a helping hand to iPod owners and gamers alike with two new earphone extras. The company's Isolating Ear Buds slip into the ear canal to provide passive noise reduction and bundle three sizes of tips designed for hours of continuous listening. Each pair musters a 105dB signal-to-noise ratio thanks to 8mm, rare earth drivers and comes in a sturdy aluminum shell that matches the colors of current iPod nanos, including Product (RED) editions. OTTO says that all the earphones ship immediately for $70.
In an unusual move, rock group AC/DC today revealed that it had signed an exclusive deal with Verizon, giving the wireless provider an exclusive run on the artists' full back catalog through the V CAST online music store. Every album produced since 1975 will be up for sale either through the PC (where it can be sideloaded to a phone later) or downloadable directly to phones that support V CAST's mobile interface. The move is one of the first efforts to encourage downloading complete albums through the cellular network, Verizon says. Only one song -- "You Shook Me All Night Long" -- will be available to buy over the air.
ASUS today added the new F8 to its F-series notebooks. The 14-inch system represents a series of firsts for both the inside and out; a new case assembly technique dubbed Infusion writes patterns directly to the surface itself, preventing them from wearing out and simultaneously toughening the case against surface scratches. Inside, the system is also unique for its choice in graphics, which can either side with NVIDIA through a 256MB GeForce 8600M GS or AMD's newer-still 512MB Mobility Radeon HD 2600. Either is fast enough for the latest 3D games, ASUS claims. An optional hybrid TV tuner transforms the F8 into a small media center with analog or digital broadcast signals.
Canon today made its first official launch of the HG10, its first AVCHD-based camcorder to record to a hard drive. The new model replaces the DVD burner of the HR10 with a 40GB disk; the change not only extends recording time to as long as 15 hours in HD but opens up the transfer speeds and enables a 15Mbps high-quality capture mode that eliminates the minor visual artifacts that might surface in the HR10's 12Mbps mode. Up to 5.5 hours of footage can fill the drive at that quality level, Canon says, letting editors readily capture enough HD footage to fill a Blu-Ray disc.
Logitech today supported its hardcore gaming audience with two heavily customizable controllers. The G9 (pictured) is the first Logitech mouse to ever allow a customizable shape: gamers who prefer to steer with their fingertips can choose the narrower Precision grip, while an add-on Wide Load shell fits the mouse to those who prefer to rely on their palms or those with large hands. Regardless of taste, the G9 boasts extremely accurate 3200 DPI laser tracking and will save up to five players' profiles (including keyboard combos and mouse DPI) on the mouse rather than forcing gamers to carry their settings on a separate disk.
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