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GPS specialist Magellan has announced an upcoming series of handheld receivers, the Tritons. Each has a full-color touchscreen, but other highlights are distributed throughout the series, such as barometers, two-megapixel cameras and LED flashlights. Maps of the United States, meanwhile, are being supplied by National Geographic, marking the first time the company has sold its data for handheld use.
There are six models in total: the highest-end version is the Triton 2000, which includes all of the possible options as well a 2.7-inch QVGA screen, plus an SD slot and a speaker and microphone combo. The price for the 2000 will be set at $499.
Mio is set to offer a major overhaul to its GPS units that focuses on software, according to new information and a lone screenshot. The C620 (not yet shown) will run the company's in-house MioMap 2008 interface and will provide more data, and more dynamic data, about the route ahead. In full-screen mode, a large-scale 3D mode will show a detailed representation of the map with a more natural perspective and 3D style cues, including color-coded parks and major landmarks. A split-screen technique adds to the output with either the choice of displaying detailed information about upcoming checkpoints or controls for media tools, such as an MP3 player. Drivers can also plot out multiple steps in their route before the drive.
Skype today launched its self-titled Skype 3.5, the latest version of its VoIP software that shifts attention to video. The new version allows users to share videos either as a discussion point or simply as a mood-setter that runs in the background. Clips can be linked directly from more popular sites such as Dailymotion or MetaCafe that have struck deals with Skype, the phone provider says. Any owner with a webcam can also take still photos in the middle of a video chat to keep them for posterity.
Buffalo hoped to overcome the bottlenecks associated with USB today by releasing its new Turbo USB line of drives. An improvement in the bridge chip that powers the drives' interface lets storage operate closer to the theoretical peak of the USB connection; hard drives can transfer data at least 20 percent faster even with notebook-sized disks, the company boasts. The DriveStation is the company's desktop offering and can transfer at about 40MB per second with capacities ranging between 320GB and 1TB; it should include SecureLockWare software to password-protect the drive and will sell in September for prices between $110 and $500 in both Japan and North America.
The cellular carrier Vodafone is likely to decide, later this week, to keep its investments in America's Verizon Wireless, says an anonymous source cited by Reuters. Vodafone had been considering selling as much as $10 billion of its stake in Verizon, the total of which amounts to $45 billion. This is due to pressure from Vodafone shareholders, who have noted that the value of Verizon is not reflected in the former's share price, and that dividend payments will not be reinstated until 2009.
At one stage a shareholder called Efficient Capital Structures had been pressuring Vodafone to create a new company based on the Verizon stake, and the Financial Times had once suggested that Vodafone would expand its stake to total control. Both of these possibilites have been discounted.
Administrators keeping track of web traffic today have detected a new, officially-sanctioned version of the iPhone browsing websites, according to reports. Found in the user IDs of visitors that represents their browser and operating system, a new device reports itself as "Apple iPhone International - Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone-International; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en-n)." This varies sharply from the normal ID which simply describes the handset as an iPhone and points to a separate, more universal version which may feature subtler hardware or software changes.
Sony today announced that its 80GB PlayStation 3 is shipping, returning the company's game console lineup to two models. As promised, the new version both adds the extra 20GB of storage and bundles a copy of MotorStorm, marking the 80GB model as one of the first standard-issue Sony consoles to ship with a full game since the original PlayStation. Features remain unchanged from the 60GB model except for the removal of direct hardware compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games in order to save cost on the system, which should be available this week for $599.
Microsoft employee Cesar Menendez has revealed that soldiers in the US military, and their families, will soon be receiving an exclusive version of the Halo 3 Zune originally aimed at civilians. 300 units of the new Zune have already been given away in care packages, distributed through the USO at a recent event at the Baltimore Washington International Airport. Though the only new design aspects of the player are a tan color and new packaging, the remaining units should have the advantage of price, since they will be sold at an unspecified discount and only through military outlets. [via Zune Insider]
HP's introduction of the iPAQ 500 will soon be accompanied by a new range-topping series that signals a full return to the smartphone business, according to unverified but credible reports. The simply-titled iPAQ 600 line would add a 3G Internet connection through HSDPA and would also offer assisted GPS through supporting carriers. HP also hopes to overcome the control limits of most slim phones with both a 2.8-inch touchscreen and an iPod-like touch wheel that would quickly speed through websites or long documents, the tip claims.
Virtually all of Verizon's planned phone releases have been leaked, according to a source with access to the company's internal corporate website. The leaked information confirms a company presentation and indicates that the carrier will lead off with HTC's XV6800 (also known as the Mogul) on the 15th of this month as well as an unknown phone labeled only as the VWZ 8905 a day later; the company also plans to release the expected Motorola phones such as the RAZR2 V9m, the V CAST TV-ready ROKR Z6tv, and a CDMA-based version of the Q 9 known as the Q 9m will also appear in coming weeks, Verizon notes.
Motorola today officially unveiled MOTOMAGX, the Linux-based operating system for its phones that launches with the RAZR2 V8 and ROKR Z6 and will take over from the Synergy software found in the RAZR and older models. In addition to letting Motorola itself improve browsing, media playback, and other features that were not always easy to implement before, the open nature of the code gives the option of third-party apps that would have previously been impractical. MAGX runs both the Java apps common to many phones but will also support native Linux programs with a future update and a custom web interface dubbed WebUI that should allow widgets and similar mini-apps with little effort.
The White Spaces Coalition, a group formed by corporations such as Google, Philips and Microsoft, has suffered a setback in tests administered by the Federal Communications Commission, says InfoWorld. The Coalition was invited last year to build prototype devices that would broadcast in its namesake "white spaces," the bands of the TV spectrum that are unused by broadcasters.
The difficulty is that these bands vary from city to city, and the Coalition took the approach of building devices that would scan before broadcasting on their chosen frequency. The FCC notes that when evaluated, the prototypes often failed to detect existing broadcasts, and would interfere with them by transmitting regardless.
The iPhone will have no choice but to embrace an over-the-air iTunes Store within the year, according to a new report from analyst group Pike & Fischer. The researchers argue that the growing independence of users from their computers and tethered Internet connections will lead many of them to expect the same level of features on their phone. This will leave Apple all but "forced" to open iTunes access through the iPhone just to remain on par with competitors that already offer online stores, says senior analyst Tim Deal. The report points out that even the iPhone's exclusive carrier, AT&T, has just opened its eMusic Mobile online store but that the iPhone has no way of interacting with it while several other phones already can.
Keyspan today launched the RF Remote for Windows Vista, a simple add-on that turns PCs with Vista Home Premium or Ultimate into impromptu home theater systems. In place of infrared, the use of an RF adapter through USB frequencies lets the remote switch on the Windows Media Center front-end in situations that would otherwise be impossible: the remote works through cabinets and walls that would trip up an IR system, Keyspan says. Its system independence also means that owners can buy the remote while building a homebrew media PC.
Lenovo on Tuesday declared its intent to acquire long-time PC builder Packard Bell, revealing that it was in talks with a third-party company that would help research the takeover and government bodies both in its Chinese home and in Packard Bell's European territory to smooth out the acquisition process. Lenovo did not explain whether the takeover bid was friendly or provide an estimate for the financial terms of the buyout. Packard Bell also has yet to comment on the prospect of the deal, which is still uncertain.
President Bush late yesterday denied Qualcomm's motion to put a hold on a 3G chipset ban relating to its patents, leaving an upcoming block on imports by the International Trade Commission to take effect in the near future. The denial follows a previous rejection by a US federal appeals court of an attempt to overturn the ban, which argued that Qualcomm needed to wait for the mandatory presidential review process before an appeal could begin. Qualcomm said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and would turn to the appeals court again to try and reverse the ban, which would effectively shut down most new imports of Qualcomm-based cellphones using EVDO cellular Internet access.
Alltel on Tuesday morning released its TV on Demand service, bringing its service up to par with offerings from Sprint and other carriers. Any subscriber with an EVDO data plan and certain video-capable phones can add an extra plan that opens download TV shows and other clips from Comedy Central, NBC, and several other major networks, letting them catch up on shows and show highlights anywhere they might be within range.
Sony today quietly introduced a trio of new add-on DVD burners, including its first 20X drives. The external DRX-840U (shown) and internal DRU-840A both write single-layer DVD-Rs at the benchmark speed and can fill a disc in five minutes even while using 16X discs. Both drives are also fast enough to write either dual-layer, write-once DVDs or single-layer rewritable versions at 12X. For Windows users, each comes with Nero 7 Express for authoring special discs. The drives attach to any computer with a free USB 2.0 port (840U) or parallel ATA connector (840A) and begin shipping first with the 840A, which is available now for $70. The external drive will be ready next month for $110.
Microsoft today officially validated its Xbox 360 price cuts with word of price drops across all three models. The central Xbox 360 Pro -- now just labeled the Xbox 360 -- sees the largest drop, shrinking in price from its original $400 launch price to $350. The high-end Xbox 360 Elite receives a more modest cut from $480 to $450, Microsoft says. A small price cut will also apply to the Core model, which drops by $20 to $280. Pricing has also been revealed for the limited-run Halo 3 Edition console, which adds a custom look as well as a play-and-charge kit and specialized Halo 3 content for $400.
Following an early look at the phones in China, Nokia today officially launched its Prism Collection handsets. Each of the angular black cellphones focuses style with changing color themes; while the basic 7500 Prism (pictured) sports interchangeable border plates, the 7900 Prism includes an active lighting system that produces any one of 49 different colors and a display with a "living" background that changes subtly with the time of day. The 7900 is also one of the very first cellphones to have a 16.7 million color OLED display that guarantees a vivid picture without cutting into performance.
Apple, RealNetworks and other companies who license MP3 encoding technology from Fraunhofer Gesellschaft breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as U.S. District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster ruled against an earlier jury decision that would hold Microsoft accountable for $1.53 billion in damages payable to Alcatel-Lucent SA, a co-owner of the Fraunhofer patents. In a San Diego courtroom, Brewester said that Microsoft's Windows Media Player software does not infringe upon one of two patents, which cover the encoding and decoding of audio into the MP3 format. The decision allays fears on the part of Apple, RealNetworks and others that they would be future targets of Alcatel-Lucent litigation.
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