News Archive for 07/08/16

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Philips teases for mysterious product launch

08/16, 4:10pm

Philips Aurea teaser

Philips has started a high-profile hype campaign for a new product set to be released later this year. Simply known as the Aurea, little is known except that it is a plasma or LCD set based on Philips' Ambilight technology, which surrounds a TV with colored lighting that matches the tone of supported movies. Philips would prefer people focus on its "Seduction by Light" advertising campaign, which is costing the company 50 million (over $67 million US), and features photography by Vincent Peters, a short film by Wong Kar Wai, and a tie-in with the Lanvin chain of fashion stores. Philips should start providing more concrete information about the Aurea on August 30th.

DICE joins ranks of audiophile dock makers

08/16, 3:25pm

DICE vacuum-tube iPod dock

DICE Electronics has announced an upcoming iPod dock, the iTPA-220. DICE's entry however is aimed at the luxury audiophile market, and as a result, its pre-amplifier system relies on two 6N3 vacuum tubes, which are said to produce a "warmer" sound than is possible with transistors. The speakers meanwhile tap 20W of power each, and have a frequency range between 40Hz and 18KHz, fed through one-inch tweeters and four-inch bass drivers. Enhancing sound further is the use of wood in the acoustic structure.

Samsung reveals S5, T10, touchscreen P2 players

08/16, 3:10pm

Samsung S5 T10 P2 Players

Samsung today announced in advance the devices it will introduce at this month's IFA technology show in Berlin, including three new music players new to the world stage. Leading the introductions is the already-mentioned YP-P2: as confirmed before, the 3-inch touchscreen is the near-exclusive control mechanism and allows users to play MP3/WMA music as well as MPEG-4 videos in a native widescreen mode. Bluetooth and FM radio are also confirmed as built-in, as are native support for podcasts ("datacasts," according to Samsung) and manually browsing files stored on the player. Pricing is still unavailable, though the P2 will first ship to Europe in either black or white colors.

AT&T crippling BlackBerry to appease Apple?

08/16, 2:25pm

ATT Crippling BB 8820

AT&T's upcoming version of the BlackBerry 8820 smartphone will be deliberately stripped of its full GPS features for the sake of promoting the iPhone, according to a report from an insider within the cellphone carrier. Although Research in Motion's handset would technically be capable of supporting any compatible GPS software, AT&T has reportedly forced the cellphone maker to limit its mapping on AT&T to the subscription TeleNav service in an attempt to make the iPhone's Google Maps feature and the device as a whole more appealing to customers. The carrier allegedly threatened to drop BlackBerries entirely from its network when RIM protested the limitation, according to the source.

Sirius adds gas prices, showtimes, and weather

08/16, 1:40pm

Sirius Data Services

In a lower-key announcement than for its Stiletto 2, Sirius today added three new data services to its existing traffic option. Compatible tuners can now check multi-day weather forecasts for either the immediate area or a specific city. Owners can also now search for recently updated gas prices at nearby stations and receive notices when those stations' prices drop below a certain threshhold, Sirius says. Searches for movie showtimes are equally new and let owners of GPS units automatically add a theater to their current route.

Compact disc hits 25

08/16, 1:30pm

Compact disc hits 25

August 17th will mark the 25th anniversary of the compact disc, now one of the most ubquitous removable media formats in the world. The CD was originally conceived as a music standard, and was the product of a 1979 collaboration between Sony and Philips, who based the technology on the LaserDisc video format. The anniversary is connected to Philips' pressing of the first commercial CD release, the ABBA album "The Visitors" -- but discs did not actually go on sale until November of 1982, when 150 mostly classical releases appeared in Japan. American and European launches took place in March of the following year.

Virgin Mobile launches LG Aloha with MP3 ringtones

08/16, 1:00pm

LG Aloha at Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile's US branch today experimented with LG handsets in the form of the Aloha. The simple clamshell keeps costs low but is advanced enough to offer a few extras absent from the least expensive phones, including MP3 ringtones rather than the MIDI tones of others. A speakerphone, voice dialing, and pre-installed games playable on the color LCD are also included with the white and silver phone, Virgin says.

Corsair launches 'padlocked' flash drive

08/16, 12:30pm

Corsair Flash Padlock driv

Memory maker Corsair has begun selling the Flash Padlock, a USB 2.0 flash drive with an abnormal approach to security. Rather than rely on software encryption, the Padlock has a built-in, nine-digit PIN pad, which enforces hardware barriers to unauthorized access. When removed from a computer, the contents of the drive are locked again automatically. This scheme is said to make the Padlock impervious to keystroke loggers and brute-force hacks. PINs up to 10 digits long are supported, and the drive works on Mac, Linux and Windows systems. A 1GB drive costs $30 while a 2GB drive is an extra $10.

Verizon intros USB-based EVDO Rev A card

08/16, 11:35am

AirCard 595U at Verizon

Verizon today rolled out Sierra's AirCard 595U adapter, providing computers without a free ExpressCard or PC Card slot the opportunity to use the carrier's faster EVDO Revision A network for Internet access. The external modem is said to take advantage of all the extra speed and averages between 600Kbps and 1.4Mbps in downloads -- enough to download a 1MB file in eight seconds, Verizon esimates. Upload speeds are also much closer in performance than fixed broadband and average between 500-800Kbps, which lets the 595U upload the same file in about 13 seconds.

Sprint's WiMAX becomes XOHM, hints at future devices

08/16, 11:00am

Sprint XOHM

Sprint on Thursday officially rebadged its upcoming WiMAX-based network XOHM (pronounced "zome"), giving an identity to the 4G Internet services that customers will use beginning later this year with trials in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington D.C. as well as the final commercial service which will go live across a wider area by spring 2008. The cellular provider did not commit to service plans but reportedly intends to offer between 2Mbps and 4Mbps download speeds for approximately $50 per month and has already announced a deal with Clearwire to allow roaming between networks. Visitors can sign up for e-mail notices to learn when XOHM goes live, Sprint says.

Japan notebook battery standard to impact US

08/16, 10:05am

Japan Notebook Safety

Japan's government is developing a notebook battery safety standard that could create a ripple effect for computer designers worldwide, according to sources speaking with Kyodo News. The wire service claims that an upcoming law could require that all manufacturers of notebook batteries in the country prove their designs will not catch fire, even when subjected to accidental conditions such as a sudden drop or production defects that introduce potentially volatile metal flakes into the batteries. Such strict measures would be necessary as a single fire could result in a far more serious accident, the government has reportedly argued in drafting the law.

FUZE rolls out unified home media hub and PVR

08/16, 8:50am

FUZE Media System

FUZE today introduced its self-titled FUZE media system, its multi-room home theater hub. The system is neither a conventional home theater PC nor an older control-based system. While a primary computer dubbed the FuzeBox ultimately hosts content, the company includes its own interface and infrastructure to share content across a whole house. Because it avoids Windows Media Center or other conventional interfaces, it also avoids the unreliability or update interruptions that plague conventional designs, FUZE says. Small, thin client PCs named FuzeMinis serve as remote hosts for the content across a gigabit Ethernet network; users can also use a touchscreen remote named the FuzeTouch to both control the system and even watch video when a TV is occupied. Audio-only environments can instead opt for a FuzeTunes wall outlet that quickly navigates just music and sports an iPod jack.

Logitech intros Pure-Fi iPod speaker duo

08/16, 4:00am

Logitech Pure-Fi Speakers

Logitech on Thursday grew its fledgling iPod speaker range with the Pure-Fi series. Central in the launch, the pictured Pure-Fi Dream relies on a unique LCD at its base. The screen not only displays a clock and AM/FM tuning (including RDS text) but taps the iPod itself, providing a larger view of the track title and timeline without having to leave the bed. Control is also simpler than most iPod docks regardless of their size. The dual alarm function can be dismissed by a motion-senstive sensor; users can also immediately shuffle or repeat their music library with a shortcut button.

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